Monday, September 25, 2023

Governor Hochul Backs Suspension of NYC’s ‘Right to Shelter’ Law as Migrant Numbers Surge

Governor Hochul Backs Suspension of NYC’s ‘Right to Shelter’ Law as Migrant Numbers Surge 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has endorsed the move to suspend New York City’s “right to shelter” law, siding with Mayor Eric Adams amidst the surging migrant crisis.

The long-standing “right-to-shelter” law mandates that the city provide shelter to all who request it.

In a conversation with CNN on Wednesday, September 20th, Hochul remarked, “The original premise behind the right to shelter was, for starters, for homeless men on the streets…But never was it envisioned being an unlimited universal right, or obligation on the city, to house literally the entire world.” 

Hochul has also urged newly arrived migrants to consider settling in cities other than New York, given the existing strain on the city’s resources saying, “If you’re going to leave your country, go somewhere else.”

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom confirmed on Thursday, September 21st, that the city plans to request a judicial exemption for newly arrived migrants from the “right-to-shelter” mandate.

Williams-Isom stated, “We’re back in court next week to really say, ‘I don’t think that the right to shelter, as it was originally written, should be applied to this humanitarian crisis in its present form.'”

In May, amidst the influx of thousands of migrants to New York City each month, the city initiated efforts to amend the law. Subsequently, it engaged in weeks of court-ordered discussions with the state and the Legal Aid Society, which advocates for homeless New Yorkers, aiming for a compromise.

Legal Aid has voiced concerns against the suspension of the law, cautioning that it could lead to an increase in homelessness across the city. 

Legal Aid spokesperson Redmond Haskins, in a statement, said, “Instead of chasing the right-to-shelter red herring, both Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams need to stop bickering and work together on a comprehensive statewide decompression and resettlement plan to help new arrivals with compassion and competence, and live up to New York values.”

Since last spring, the city has seen an influx of more than 110,000 migrants, with approximately 60,000 now residing in the City’s shelter system, costing billions of dollars annually.

Committed to aiding the migrant situation, the New York state government has initiated a drive to assist eligible migrants in filing for work authorizations and connecting them with potential employers. 

This initiative encompasses more than 70 staff from 16 different state agencies and 50 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees allocated to process work authorization applications. 

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