Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday said he plans to move some migrant families with children into congregate homeless shelters, a move that would be an apparent violation of the city’s right to shelter laws.
During an interview on PIX11, Adams said the move would be necessary because so many asylum seekers continue to enter the city’s care.
“We’re going to have to eventually move women and children into congregant settings,” the mayor said. “Some migrants may have to move out into these outside tents.”
The city’s right to shelter law — which Adams is fighting in court — bans the city from placing families with children in congregate shelters.
Christine Quinn, a former City Council Speaker who now heads Win, the city’s largest housing provider for homeless women and children, said mass shelter sites are “unsafe and inappropriate” for families with children.
“Think of a gymnasium full of cots — a barrack-style room full of cots — where we house people after a hurricane,” said Quinn. “It doesn’t really work that well for single, homeless people because there is often a higher level of crime — and not as much space for therapeutic or holistic intervention — in those spaces.”
Quinn noted homeless families are typically housed in units containing a private bathroom, kitchen and beds. She said the change proposed by Adams would appear to violate city law.
Adams’ comments came a day after he ordered all city agencies to slash spending by 5% beginning in November. He said the effort aims to offset the cost of the migrant crisis, which officials said would cost the city $12 billion by 2025.
Last week, the mayor said the migrant crisis “will destroy New York City.”
Officials said more than 111,500 people were in the city’s homeless shelter system — more than 59.400 of whom are asylum-seekers — as of Aug. 27. The city estimates more than 10,000 new people are entering the shelter system each month.
“We’re saying that you can come from anywhere on the globe, come to New York City and we are to food, house, clothe you for as long as you want, forever,” Adams said during his Sunday TV appearance. “That’s not realistic. It’s not sustainable. And that is what we’re seeing now. That needs to be reexamined.”