Council questions if migrants are causing uptick in city’s shelter system during oversight hearing

Officers from Mayor Eric Adams’ administration confronted powerful questions Tuesday on their dealing with of an inflow of migrants into the city’s homeless shelters from the Metropolis Council Committee on Common Welfare during an oversight hearing.

The hearing was referred to as by Metropolis Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Deputy Metropolis Council Speaker Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan, Bronx) – who additionally chairs the overall welfare committee – in response to a “surge” in Central and South American immigrants being bussed to the town. Mayor Adams says these migrants, who are being despatched right here by southern states like Texas and Arizona and the federal authorities, are overwhelming the city’s homeless shelter system, which is legally required to deal with them below its “right to shelter” coverage.

The hearing was sparked by reviews that the town Division of Social Companies (DSS) – which oversees the city’s shelters – left a number of migrant households looking for shelter to sleep on the ground of the shelter system consumption facility in the Bronx – generally known as the Prevention Help and Non permanent Housing (PATH).

The Metropolis Council Committee on Common Welfare held an oversight hearing on Mayor Eric Adams’ administration’s dealing with of an inflow of migrants in the town shelter system. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2022. Photograph by Ethan Stark-Miller.

DSS Commissioner Gary Jenkins and Mayor’s Workplace of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro testified on behalf of the Adams administration.

During one of many hearing’s extra heated exchanges, whereas questioning Jenkins, Metropolis Council Member Lincoln Restler (D-Brooklyn) stated he’s skeptical that the latest uptick in the city’s shelter is being attributable to the elevated variety of asylum seekers in want of shelter. As a substitute, Restler added, he believes the system is overwhelmed – notably for households with kids – as a result of finish of the state’s eviction moratorium in the spring and a rise in the town shelters that usually happens during the summer time months.

“I have to say, it remains unclear to me whether the increase in the shelter census is being driven by the asylum seekers or whether the increase in the shelter census is being attributed to some people needing assistance who are coming from abroad,” Restler stated. “And I really hope that we can get clearer data to understand what’s happening. My strong suspicion is that we’re experiencing an increase in the daily children census as a result of the eviction moratorium ending and the regular spike that we see in the summer months.”

Metropolis Council Member Lincoln Restler during a council Committee on Common Welfare oversight hearing on Mayor Eric Adams dealing with of an inflow of migrants into the town shelter system. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2022. Photograph courtesy of Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit.

Since Could, over 4,000 asylum seekers have “presented themselves” to the shelter and there are roughly 100 individuals looking for refuge on the metropolis shelters per day, Jenkins stated. That has been the motive force of the roughly 10 % improve in the city’s shelter inhabitants since April, he added.

Nevertheless, when Restler requested Jenkins for a particular variety of migrants presently in the shelter system, he couldn’t give a precise reply.

“We have 4000 individuals that presented themselves that we identified as asylum seekers,” Jenkins stated. “What’s currently here today and is still in our system? I’ll have to get back to you on that data.”

Division of Social Companies Commissioner Gary Jenkins and Mayor’s Workplace of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro during a council Committee on Common Welfare oversight hearing on Mayor Eric Adams dealing with of an inflow of migrants into the town shelter system. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2022. Photograph courtesy of Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit.

However Restler was hardly the one council member not shopping for the concept that the swelling shelter inhabitants needs to be blamed squarely on the latest rise in immigrants. Speaker Adams launched an announcement during the hearing that accused the mayor of “scapegoating” migrants for pre-existing points in the shelter system.

“While there may be a rise in asylum seekers in New York City, this does not mean they are to blame for issues that have historically plagued our system,” Speaker Adams stated. “The economic impact of COVID-19, the ending of the eviction moratorium and voucher discrimination in the rental market all increase demand on the City’s shelter system, and increased efforts are needed.”

However at an unrelated press convention following the hearing, the mayor pushed again on the speaker’s criticism, saying he’s not scapegoating the asylum seekers, however the finish of the eviction moratorium can’t be accountable for the surging shelter inhabitants as a result of only one % of the rise will be attributed to evictions.

“I’m not quite sure what the speaker is saying,” the mayor stated. “I’ll reach out to her and I’m gonna ask her to come with me to some of the homeless shelters that I’m visiting, and I’ll continue to visit with my team, and she can sort of point out what she believes we’re scapegoating. From my understanding, she said that the eviction issue is causing some of the homelessness. Only 1 percent of those who are in the shelters are there due to evictions.”

Mayor Eric Adams holds Honest Workweek Settlement Press Convention. Metropolis Corridor. Tuesday, August 9, 2022. Photograph courtesy of Violet Mendelsund/Mayoral Images Workplace.

Mayor Adams first started elevating alarm bells in regards to the surging shelter inhabitants and blaming it on a rise in migrants late final month. On July 19, Adams penned a letter to the White Home requesting extra assets from the federal authorities to assist deal with the inflow.

That very same week, the mayor held a rushed press convention to deal with reporting that his administration violated the city’s proper to shelter coverage when it failed to put 4 households to the system by 10 p.m. on July 17, forcing them to sleep in a single day in the Bronx consumption facility. The administration owned as much as failing to search out shelter for these households, however insisted they have been all positioned in shelters by 11 a.m. the subsequent morning.

At a information convention held by the Coalition for the Homeless and the Authorized Assist Society earlier than the hearing, Metropolis Council Member Shahana Hanif (D-Brooklyn) slammed the Adams administration for permitting these households to sleep in a single day in the PATH facility.

“Our city needs to offer sanctuary and shelter to anyone who needs it,” Hanif stated. “This means that our city must ensure that beds and critical services are immediately available to meet the demand. It is unconscionable that families have been forced to sleep on the floor of DHS intake rooms while they wait for shelters. We have thousands of empty apartments and hotel rooms in this city. There is housing and just not the will to house those that are without one.”

Chief Authorized Assist Society Legal professional Adriene Holder at a rally on the Metropolis Corridor steps previous a council Committee on Common Welfare oversight hearing on Mayor Eric Adams’ administration’s dealing with of an inflow of migrants in the town homeless shelter system.Photograph by Dean Moses

In the course of the hearing, Jenkins insisted that no household has slept multiple night time in the consumption facility. 

Jenkins and Castro additionally highlighted steps the town is taking to scale back strain on the shelter system by accommodating the inflow of migrants. These embrace utilizing 11 lodges as emergency shelters and opening a brand new consumption and repair middle devoted to asylum seekers in midtown Manhattan. 

In keeping with reporting from the New York Publish, the town put out a request for proposals (RFP) final Thursday, seeking a non-profit to run the facility with space for 600 households that will provide some core services. Metropolis Emergency Administration Commissioner Zachary Iscol stated the power needs to be up and operating in the subsequent few weeks “but hopefully sooner.”

“We’re looking at opening up one service center,” Iscol stated. “That service center will provide some core services, primarily legal services, along with Department of Education (DOE) facilities. We’re then going to be primarily referring people to community-based organizations for services in their communities. We believe that’s the best model because that helps them matriculate into their communities.”

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