Lawsuit related to housing for asylum seekers hangs over Hochul

  • By Christian Wade | The Center Square contributor
  • August 2nd, 2023
  • Republished with Permission: The Roosevelt Island Daily News
  • Homeless person's camp on Neville Street, Leeds
    Homeless person’s camp Licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

    (The Center Square) — Homeless advocacy groups are threatening legal action against Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul to force the state to provide more money to house asylum seekers, with hundreds sleeping on New York City’s streets amid a lack of shelter beds.

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    The Legal Aid Society and Homeless Coalition say the Hochul administration needs to provide resources, coordination, and funding to help New York City accommodate new arrivals in order to comply with a law requiring the city to provide emergency shelter. The groups said they are “prepared to bring litigation to enforce the law.”

    “There is no dispute that the city has a legal obligation to find an appropriate placement for anyone in need of shelter in a timely fashion,” the groups said in a statement. “Denying new arrivals placement and forcing people to languish on local streets is cruel and runs afoul of a range of court orders and local laws.”

    More than 93,000 migrants have come through New York City in the past year amid a surge of immigration along the southern border. The city is providing housing, food and other necessities for more than 50,000 migrants, which Adams says has pushed the emergency shelter system to the brink.

    While the Biden administration has reported a 70% decrease in illegal border crossings since Title 42 was lifted in early May, Adams says the city is seeing an average of 2,500 people arriving daily. He has urged migrants not to come to the Big Apple, and tightened the city’s emergency shelter regulations.

    In response to the migrant crisis, the Adams administration has opened more than 180 emergency shelters in city-owned buildings, hotels and other locations and 13 humanitarian relief centers serving as processing centers for new arrivals.

    Adams has tried to relocate migrants to upstate hotels but the move has been met with resistance from county leaders. He filed a lawsuit against 30 counties that have enacted local bans on migrant relocations.

    New York City expects to spend more than $4 billion caring for migrants over the next two years and Adams has called for more state and federal funding to help cover those costs.

    In June, New York congressional leaders announced that New York City was allocated $105 million in federal funds to deal with migrants but Adams said this week the city hasn’t seen that money yet.

    Adams has also blamed the White House for failing to act on requests from New York leaders to approve expedited work authorization for asylum seekers, which he says would take some of the financial pressure off the state and city governments by allowing migrants to earn money.

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