The legislation, introduced in Albany by Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, would prohibit policies that restrict the length of homeless shelter stays—aimed at halting the Adams administration’s 30 and 60-day shelter notices for newly arrived immigrants.

Katherin Burbano, 28, with her 2-year-old daughter.

Adi Talwar

Katherin Burbano, 28, with her 2-year-old daughter. The family had a deadline to leave their hotel shelter in late January.

A pair of state lawmakers are looking to repeal the Adams administration’s policy limiting the length of stay in city shelters for newly arrived immigrants—calling the 30- and 60-day deadlines “cruel” and disruptive for children’s schooling.

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal introduced the bill last week, which, if passed, would bar government agencies and local municipalities from imposing limits on how long people can stay in shelter or emergency housing, according to an announcement from the lawmakers on Monday.

The legislation, crafted in collaboration with the shelter provider Win and NY SANE—a coalition formed to defend the city’s right to shelter laws—would also prohibit agencies or providers contracting with government agencies from removing people from shelters “unless the person is in imminent danger or requests a transfer.”

New York City has been issuing the deadlines for adult immigrants—who are now subject to 30-day limits—since July, and began issuing 60-day notices to families with children in the system late last year, saying the city doesn’t have the funding or space to shelter them longer.

Approximately 170,000 migrants have come to the city since the spring of 2022, and more than 68,000 were in the shelter system at the end of December. “We are trying to get as many out the door as possible to be self‑sustaining,” Mayor Eric Adams said during a press briefing last week.

But critics of the policy have called the deadlines unnecessary and disruptive. While immigrants can reapply for another shelter placement once their 30- or 60-day stay expires, landing one has proven difficult for adults in the system, hundreds of whom have lined up in the cold each day outside the city’s “reticketing” center for a chance at another bed, sleeping overnight on floors and in chairs of so called “waiting areas” as they do so.

For families, thousands of whom have been issued 60-day notices this winter, the deadlines mean moving every two months—sometimes far from the schools where they’ve enrolled their children. “Kicking people out to the streets during the coldest time of year won’t help solve our housing crisis and forcing asylum seekers out of shelters will do nothing to mitigate the migrant situation,” Sen. Hoylman said in a statement Monday.

Local lawmakers have made similar efforts: City Councilmember Shanana Hanif introduced a bill in October that would prohibit the city from limiting shelter stays; 15 other councilmembers signed on as co-sponsors.

End Shelter Evictions rally
Christine Quinn, former City Council speaker and current CEO of the shelter provider Win, addressing the crowd at a rally against the city’s shelter limit policy on Jan. 8.

In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson said rolling back the shelter deadline policy for migrants would force the city to “add billions of dollars, once again, to our city’s budget.” The Adams administration last month announced a lower spending forecast for sheltering new arrivals, citing the shelter limits as well as efforts to relocate immigrants to locations outside the five boroughs.

City Hall said it provides “intensified casework” for those issued the eviction notices and makes a concerted effort to place families with kids who reapply for a new shelter site near their schools.

“As we have repeatedly said, New York City is long past its breaking point, and we are simply out of space and resources,” the spokesperson said.

“We are grateful for the partnership of our federal and state partners, but, instead of introducing counterproductive legislation, we would encourage members of the Legislature to join us in advocating for meaningful financial help and continuing to ask for more assistance to help resettle families across New York state and the country.”

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