NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — 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.
“Challenging the right to shelter is dangerous,” the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center wrote on Twitter. “Without this right, tens of thousands of people will be on the street.”
At least 11,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since May, most of them bused in from Texas.
“There should be a pathway to allow them to (receive) housing and understand the American way of life, educate the children…do it in a very humane fashion,” Adams said. “What is taking place in Texas right now with Governor (Greg) Abbott is despicable. It is anti-everything we are as Americans.”
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