WABC, September 15, 2022
New York City is “reassessing” longstanding procedures that stem from a law requiring the city to shelter undomiciled people, following an influx of more than 11,000 asylum seekers who have been bused from Texas, the mayor’s chief counsel said Thursday.
Brenda McGuire made the comments after touring the city’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center, which opened to help immigrants navigate the legal and education systems.
“We are reassessing the city’s practices with respect to the right to shelter,” she said. “It is important, because we don’t exist in a vacuum, to reconsider the practices that the city developed that flow from the right to shelter.”
McGuire declined to elaborate what, specifically, might need to change, but the city’s prior practices involving mainly people experiencing homelessness “never contemplated the busing of thousands of people into New York,” Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this week. “We expect thousands more to arrive every week going forward. The city’s system is nearing its breaking point.”
The comments followed the failure of the city’s shelter system to offer beds to 60 men who arrived Monday at the men’s intake shelter on East 30th Street.
The mayor and his chief counsel have each stressed the city is not reneging on the obligation to shelter, which has been guaranteed by the courts for three dozen years.
“There’s no ambiguity there, so it’s an important distinction,” McGuire said. “We are not reassessing the right to shelter. We are reassessing (the) practices around the right to shelter.”
Homeless advocates, though, aren’t so sure, and they warned the mayor not to end any practice that would force people onto the streets.
At least 11,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since May, many of them bused in from Texas, though the city has no official way of tracking exactly how many migrants arrive and by what means.