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NYC Eases Right-to-Shelter Rules in Bid to House Migrants Amid Suburban Backlash



In anticipation of a new influx of migrants coming to the tri-state as COVID-era immigration restrictions known as “Title 42” are set to expire, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order loosening the city’s legal restrictions on right-to-shelter rules.

The order, announced Wednesday night, effectively will target three things. First, it suspends a rule prohibiting families with children from being housed in congregate settings, such as barracks-style shelters. The change allows the city to place families in already established shelters rather than looking for new places (like hotels outside the city) to house families.

Another change would relax a rule requiring the city to get a bed for people within a certain time-frame. Before the mayor’s executive order, families with children who applied for shelter before 10 p.m. were guaranteed placement in a shelter unit at some point that night.

Despite massive pushback from suburban counties, New York City is going ahead with its migrant relocation plan. Sarah Wallace reports.

The order also loosens a rule regarding unlawful evictions and how they apply to shelter residents. Under the exception, those who are put into hotels would be excluded from the rule that anyone living in a NYC dwelling for 30 days can’t be immediately evicted without certain legal proceedings.

A city spokesperson said it was “not a decision taken lightly and we will make every effort to get asylum seekers into shelter as quickly as possible.”


City Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said in a joint statement in which they said that the executive order’s changes could “force families with children to languish at the City’s intake facility for extended periods of time, potentially days on end, prolonging suffering that no human being should experience.”

The statement said Adams is “heading down a dangerous road” and that the right-to-shelter laws “have protected people from immeasurable harm” for decades. The groups said modifying the rules could put families at risk.

“This order could potentially lead to the City regularly placing homeless families with children in congregate settings, a dangerous and widely condemned practice of the distant past,” the statement read. “We recognize the efforts from City staff to avoid putting people in harm’s way, but we’ve learned through experience that congregate shelters put families and children at risk of communicable diseases and sexual assault, and they adversely impact mental health.”

The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said they are considering their options, including possible litigation.

The news comes amid the ongoing battle over plans to house asylum seekers in the Hudson Valley. In Rockland County, sheriff’s officers were posted outside the Armoni Hotel in Orangeburg, where a temporary restraining order is in place barring migrants from moving in.

The city was looking to send a couple hundred migrant men to the northern suburbs at what the mayor’s staff would be an emergency-use hotel. But Rockland Officials said that would simply be subterfuge for an illegal city-run shelter.

“This is a renegade operation on the part of the mayor, and I cannot even begin to believe what’s going on at this point,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “I have never seen such bullying and arrogance in my entire career.”


On Wednesday, the mayor’s press secretary responded by saying, quote, “we will allow the hotel to decide how to move forward in Rockland County, but our plan is still to move a small number of asylum seekers to Orange County, barring any security issues.”

One day after declaring a state of emergency, Rockland and Orange county leaders say they’ve heard nothing from City Hall. Sarah Wallace reports.

The Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh was another targeted location, as both Orange and Rockland County officials filed states of emergency.

In a call with the mayor’s staff on Tuesday, Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny was still fuming over the fact that beds suddenly showed up at the Armani Hotel last weekend.

“It was a sneak attack in the middle of the night. They gave us a debriefing call at 4:30 p.m. yesterday and told us buses were still coming,” said Kenny.

While there is a temporary injunction in place to prevent the hotel from accepting migrants, Rockland County is seeking a permanent injunction against New York City and the hotel. A hearing is scheduled for Monday morning.


Source: NBC New York

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