Lawmakers, advocates for homeless rally to defend Right to Shelter law in NYC

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Lawmakers, advocates for homeless rally to defend Right to Shelter
Lauren Glassberg has the latest details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Lawmakers and advocates for the homeless turned out for a rally in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday to defend the Right to Shelter law.

The NY SANE coalition, Legal Aid Society and others oppose Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul's attempt to dismantle the decades-old law.

But the mayor says the city has been pushed to brink financially because of the influx of asylum seekers, and he's gone to court to end this shelter policy - a move that housing advocates say is simply wrong.

"Do not scapegoat Right to Shelter, admit you failed in providing the housing this city needed," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Homeless advocates say thousands of New Yorkers will be denied shelter as a result and New Yorkers will start to see more encampments on the streets as the weather gets colder.

The group is calling on both the mayor and the governor to use a variety of resources to provide safe shelter to all who need it and move homeless New Yorkers into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

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Adams is planning another trip to Washington, D.C., on Thursday for meetings on the migrant crisis and to appeal for more federal funding. It's the first time he will be in the nation's capital since he canceled his meetings the day the FBI raided the home of his campaign's chief fundraiser, who no longer works in that position.

Meanwhile, City Comptroller Brad Lander restricted Adams' power to grant emergency contracts on the migrant crisis. Some elected officials have criticized the administration's emergency spending decisions.

"He went to DC 20 months later, and he came back with tying our hands, that just sort of defies logic to me that we have to make these quick decisions on dealing with these contracts and dealing with placing people in housing, I'm a little disappointed," the mayor said.

The UFT launched a petition calling on the mayor to halt the city's 60-day limit for migrant families staying at emergency shelters.

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