NEW YORK - More than 4,000 migrants are now arriving in New York City every week, and the Adams administration says it needs to limit shelter stays even further to make room.
"It’s not if, it's when people are going to be sleeping on our streets," Mayor Eric Adams said.
Migrant families with children will now only be allowed to stay in the shelter system for 60 days.
This only applies to migrant families living in the migrant shelter system, like the Humanitarian Emergency Relief Centers, not the shelters run by the Department of Homeless Services where the majority of these migrants live.
But this move comes as the city and state are also looking to limit the city’s right-to-shelter mandate, which requires the city to provide a shelter bed to anyone who needs it. Right now, both Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are asking the court to provide relief from providing shelter to single adults under two conditions: when there is a state of emergency and when the demand for shelter is at least 50% higher than during non-emergency periods.
Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society condemned the administration for taking these steps.
"New Yorkers will be denied shelter, they will end up on the streets," Dave Giffen, Coalition for the Homeless said. "There's really no question about that. But that seems to be the implicit if not the explicit intent. It does seem that their hope here is that the public spectacle of human suffering will serve as some kind of deterrent to more people coming to New York City."
Adams however pushed back and dared his critics to come up with solutions themselves.
"I'm really calling on legal aid and others," Adams. "Come up with some tangible ideas. Come up with some tangible ideas. Criticism is not an idea."
But Kathryn Kliff from Legal Aid says they have outlined at least 13 proposals they have offered to the mayor’s team to help migrants move out of the shelter system.
"It’s frustrating that the mayor did not acknowledge that especially since since day one we have been trying to be a good partner and giving them ideas of what they could do."
If these migrant families can not find alternative housing in 60 days – they will still have to move out and then return to the Roosevelt hotel, which is currently serving as a migrant intake center, to reapply for a shelter bed.
A similar rule already applies to single adult migrants who are now only allowed to stay at a shelter for 30 days.
However, according to the Adams administration fewer than 50 percent return to the Roosevelt to reapply for a bed.
" We really want to make sure that we're making room at the front door," Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said. "I can't do a state-wide decompression strategy, because I'm not a governor. I'm not the president. So I can't do a federal declaration. But we can do as the city is used the tools that we have."
When it comes to the city and state’s efforts to limit the right to shelter mandate here in the city – a new judge has been assigned to this case after the last judge recused herself a few weeks ago.
That new judge will be holding a court conference Thursday at 11 AM.