City Council proposes legislation to make it easier for homeless to get permanent housing

Friday, May 26, 2023
City leaders at odds over homeless shelters and migrant crisis
New York City Council voted to make it easier for the homeless to transition into permanent housing as a way to make room for asylum seekers. N.J. Burkett has the story.

MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- As city officials scramble to find more room to house the influx of asylum seekers being bused to New York, a new proposal is aiming to help clear space at homeless shelters.

The New York City Council voted on Thursday afternoon to make it faster and easier for the homeless to transition into permanent housing, eliminating a law that required them to remain in a shelter for 90 days before they could apply for rent subsidies.

However, Mayor Eric Adams is likely to veto the legislation because of its price tag.

"We are confident in our support, and it would really be unfortunate if the mayor would choose to veto bills that help New Yorkers leave the shelter system," Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said.

The fact is, there are now more migrants in the city than there are homeless New Yorkers. Taken together, the city is now caring for 70,000 people every day. Roughly equivalent to the entire city of Camden, New Jersey.

Another bus filled with asylum seekers arrived in Alphabet City Thursday night amid the ongoing crisis in New York City. Jim Dolan has more.

The legislation is intended to make more room for the migrants, many of whom are living in so-called "Respite Centers" with little more than a cot to sleep on. A church is one of six opened in recent days. A seventh is expected to open shortly in another church on the Lower East Side.

What's more? New York's "Right to Shelter" law requires the city to provide temporary housing for every homeless person who asks for it. Mayor Adams is asking the courts to suspend it for migrants seeking asylum.

RELATED | Mayor Adams to decide on 'Homeless Bill of Rights' that allows homeless encampments outside

"When you think about it, when laws were written, I don't think anyone thought about a humanitarian crisis of this proportion," said Mayor Adams on WABC Radio.

Many council members and homeless advocates insist such a double standard is immoral.

"I think the administration needs to step back, withdraw those letters to the court and work more closely with housing advocates that advocate for the homeless to come up with solutions that do not include reducing the right to shelter," homeless advocate Christine Quinn said.


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