It’s been more than three weeks since Mayor Eric Adams first announced that single migrants would have to leave city’s care after 60 days in the shelter system.
Now, approximately 1,400 single asylum seekers have received notice that they would need to move out of their current shelter within 60 days, according to Zach Iscol, the Commissioner of the NYC Emergency Management.
Of this group, 65% expressed interest in making “exit plans” to leave the shelter system and find permanent housing, he said.
On Thursday, city officials, elected leaders, and advocates spoke at a City Council oversight hearing about the Adams administration’s decision to limit single adult’s shelter stays to 60 days, after which they would be required to repeat the intake process outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development testified at the hearing. Some city council members lamented that representatives from the Departments of Homeless Services and Social Services were not present.
Iscol said shelter workers are providing “intensive case management” to the asylum seekers who received notices, connecting them to resources like IDNYC cards, English classes, OSHA trainings, and transportation to other parts of the United States.
The 60-day policy is meant to “create critically needed space for families and children” by freeing up space previously occupied by single adults, Iscol said, adding that 300 to 500 asylum seekers are arriving in New York City every day – one in four of whom leave the city within 24 hours.
Theodore Long, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health and Hospitals, said that the City is “past the breaking point,” adding that the policy is “the best option of terrible options.”
But city council members pushed back on the new shelter rule, arguing that it could precipitate a growing homeless crisis, and leave numerous asylum seekers with no choice but to sleep on the streets. Images of more than 100 people who slept for over a week outside the Roosevelt Hotel made national headlines in recent weeks.
Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif, chair of the committee on immigration, said she did not support the administration’s new policy.
“It seems really hard to justify both legally and morally as the thing to do in our city right now,” she said. “This policy needs to be undone. You can’t put in measures that are pilot experiments to see what could happen.”
Approximately 40% of the nearly 100,000 asylum seekers who have been in the City’s care have exited the shelter system, Long said.
“We’re still at the height of the humanitarian crisis,” said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The city received 2,900 asylum seekers last week. “We’re very much still trying to figure out what to do day to day,” he said.