(NEW YORK) — New York City is “reassessing” longstanding procedures that stem from a law requiring the city to shelter undomiciled people.
It follows an influx of more than 11,000 asylum seekers who have been bussed from Texas, the mayor’s chief counsel said Thursday after touring the city’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center.
“We are reassessing the city’s practices with respect to the right to shelter,” Brendan McGuire, the chief counsel, said. “It is important — because we don’t exist in a vacuum — to reconsider the practices that the city developed that flow from the right to shelter.”
McGuire declined to elaborate what, specifically, might need to change but the city’s prior practices involving mainly people experiencing homelessness “never contemplated the bussing of thousands of people into New York,” Mayor Adams said earlier this week. “We expect thousands more to arrive every week going forward. The city’s system is nearing its breaking point.”
The comments followed the failure of the city’s shelter system to offer beds to 60 men who arrived Monday at the men’s intake shelter on E 30 St.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, since early May, has been sending busloads of migrants out of Texas to cities with Democrat leaders, including New York City and Washington, D.C. The Republican governor says he started the busing programs in response to the Biden administration’s immigration policies which he claims inadequately secure the border, forcing states like his to bear the brunt of migrant waves.
Officials said Texas authorities have not coordinated with New York officials, meaning that officials are unaware of when buses will arrive or how many individuals will be on the buses.
“They’re not letting us know what are the needs of the people on the bus. They’re not giving us any information, so we’re unable to really provide service to the people en route,” Adams told ABC affiliate WABC earlier this summer.
The mayor and his chief counsel have each stressed the city is not reneging on the obligation to shelter itself, which the courts have guaranteed for three dozen years.
“There’s no ambiguity there, so it’s an important distinction. We are not reassessing the right to shelter. We are reassessing [the] practices around the right to shelter,” McGuire said.
Homeless advocates aren’t so sure and warned the mayor not to end any practice that would force people onto the streets.
“@NYCMayor challenging the right to shelter is dangerous. Without this right tens of thousands of people will be on the street,” the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center wrote on Twitter.
Adams announced the opening of New York City’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center on Thursday.
The center, according to the city, “will support individuals and families who have arrived in New York City on or after January 1, 2022. The center will serve as a central place where newly arrived asylum seekers will receive free and confidential help accessing a variety of important services and resources that will help them integrate and thrive in New York City.”
“Our city continues to welcome the thousands of families who have arrived in New York City in the last few months, but, today, we are announcing a one-stop-shop for those seeking asylum to receive free and confidential help accessing the important services and resources that will help them integrate and thrive in New York City,” Adams said Thursday.
“We are always willing to work with the City on ways to improve services for anyone in need of shelter, including asylum seekers, so long as any proposal complies with well-established court orders and New York State’s Constitution, which require the City to provide homeless individuals and families placement in a safe and accessible shelter,” The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said in a statement Thursday. “We were glad to hear City officials affirming their commitment to those obligations this morning.”
ABC News’ William Mansell, Briana Alvarado and Kyla Guilfoil contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.