New York mayor’s migrant tents give him more time to fulfill his shelter mandate

The clock starts to turn as shelter seekers seek housing at shelters controlled by the Department of Homeless Services, but the temporary tent shelters the Adams administration is erecting in a remote Bronx parking lot will managed by New York City Emergency Management and Health. + Hospitals Corp. The Department of Homeless Services will not be involved, which Adams says is intentional.

“We have an accommodation obligation that we fulfill every day. Everyone knows that. And we have a crisis of migrants, asylum seekers … so we will treat everyone humanely, but they are two different entities,” he told an independent press briefing on Tuesday. « This is a crisis of migrants and asylum seekers and this is how we are responding to it. »

The administration said it wanted to route migrant buses directly to tent shelters, making them the first point of contact for newly arrived asylum seekers.

Upon arrival, asylum seekers will receive medical attention if needed and will be asked if they have friends or family to stay with. According to a spokesperson for the mayor, those seeking to leave the city altogether have received resettlement assistance from community organizations, rather than the city.

The 1,000-bed tent for adult asylum seekers being built in the Orchard Beach section of the Bronx will be heated, but it won’t meet all the requirements to comply with right-to-shelter laws. Migrants seeking accommodation in the city will stay there for 24 to 96 hours, offering the administration a buffer against the right to shelter timer: should someone arrive directly at the homeless services reception center shelter, a long-standing law would require the city to find them a bed that same night.

If the administration tries to circumvent that law, a city council member said, officials should be candid about the pressures on the system.

“We have a legal and moral obligation to do the right thing here, but we also need to be honest about where we are and act collectively in partnership,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, who chairs the General Welfare Committee, in an interview. .

The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless, which have raised concerns about the city’s failure to follow housing rights rules, said they are waiting to hear more about operation of tent shelters. However, they noted that the administration assured them that asylum seekers directed to the tents could enter the homeless shelter system at any time.

« They told us that people are free to come and go and anyone who comes to a DHS reception desk – nothing will change for them, that system will still be there and anyone who comes there will be served. “said Joshua Goldfein. , a legal aid lawyer. « We have concerns about the operation of these new sites, but we are awaiting answers. »


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