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.
The first evictions of migrant families with children under City Hall’s 60-day shelter policy began on Jan. 9. Since then, about 1,600 families have been forced to leave their shelters after their time expired, while another 7,200 have been given 60-day notices that will expire in the weeks to come.
“It looks like a coughing choir in that tent,” said Luis Zambrano, 62, who came down with pneumonia this winter while staying at the shelter complex on Randall’s Island, where the city has been housing thousands of newly arrived immigrants. “The cold that passes through and under the cot doesn’t go away with several blankets, so you are always cold sleeping.”
‘It’s Not the Place, But Where it’s Located’: Immigrant Families Weather First Weeks in Floyd Bennett Shelter
City Limits recently spoke with several families about what it was like to live at the shelter, the first congregate facility in which the city has placed large numbers of immigrant families with children. All complained about the cold inside the tents, the remoteness, and inaccessibility.
Over the last several weeks, shelter residents and volunteers said they’ve seen increased enforcement around cooking and vending at the site, including an operation on Oct. 17 in which the Parks Department and NYPD confiscated canopy tents and other equipment.
“These bills are a common sense way to help new arrivals become self-sufficient and less dependent on costly city services. I hope that my colleagues of all political stripes can come together to support these operational fixes that will improve our city’s response to this challenging moment.”
The city’s education department insists the funding system is flexible, but the comptroller and education advocates worry some schools won’t get what they need if ‘massive numbers’ of new students enroll later in the year.
For the last three months, in instances when no other options are available, the city has provided some families with kids seeking asylum with vouchers for “no-cost hotel stays” for 28 days, after which they need to return to the city’s Arrival Center to seek another placement.
“Seeking asylum has become nearly as difficult as getting here in the first place.”