Under scrutiny from the City Council Thursday, officials described the issuance of roughly 1,500 60-day notices, starting on July 24 at Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs) run by the Health + Hospitals Corporation.
Roughly 1,500 single adult asylum seekers have received notices in recent weeks stating that their shelter stays will expire after 60 days, senior members of Mayor Eric Adams’ administration testified Thursday.
The update comes less than a month after Mayor Adams announced the 60-day policy, saying that the city had run out of room to house tens of thousands of recently-arrived migrants, and had to prioritize sheltering families with children. He drew backlash from advocates for the homeless, who warned people would end up sleeping on the streets.
Under scrutiny from the City Council at Thursday’s hearing, officials described a staggered rollout of the 60-day notices to individuals who have been in their care the longest, starting on July 24 at Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs) run by the Health + Hospitals Corporation.
Health + Hospitals has issued 913 notices to single adults so far, according to Dr. Ted Long, senior vice president of ambulatory care and population health. Recipients are getting accompanying case management services, and the majority have said they are ready to move out of shelter so long as the city can help them, Long testified.
“Sixty-five percent of them so far have told us, ‘Okay, we’re ready to make an exit plan with you, but we need something,’” he said. “That something could be [the municipal identification card] IDNYC. That something could be OSHA training. That something could be learning to speak English.”
Others want help with travel costs, Long added. “We actually learned a lot of people didn’t know, or didn’t fully understand, the reticketing options that we’re offering them in New York City to reunite with friends and family across the country,” he said.
Notices have also been issued to all 533 single adults staying at 455 Jefferson Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a HERRC run by Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), according to First Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Tigan.
Single adults at HPD-run hotel shelters are scheduled to start receiving notices this week, according to Tigan. The Office of Emergency Management, which operates a subset of emergency respite centers, began distributing notices Wednesday, according to Commissioner Zach Ischol, at a rate of about 50 per day.
Councilmember Diana Ayala, chair of the General Welfare Committee, emphasized that the case management and support migrants are receiving must be robust.
“I don’t want to throw migrants into an unfamiliar pool of water and hope that they can swim,” she said. “I want to know that they can swim.”
“I expect you to sit with folks and interview them and try to find alternative housing if that is a viable option,” she added.
Nearly 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since April 2022, according to City Hall, more than 57,300 of whom are currently in the city’s care.
Earlier this week, Mayor Adams announced revised estimates for the total cost of sheltering and serving this population through the end of Fiscal Year 2025, setting the total at about $12 billion.
Under his 60-day notice policy, single adults who do not have an alternative place to live when their time runs out must re-apply for shelter at the city’s central intake center for asylum seekers, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.
This juncture will be a crucial test of the city’s compliance with its own shelter rules, according to Josh Goldfein of the Legal Aid Society. His organization is currently defending New York’s unique right-to-shelter protections in state court.
“If the person says they don’t have another place to go, the city still has a legal obligation to provide them with some place,” Goldfein told reporters last month.