(The Center Square) — Gov. Kathy Hochul is siding with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a push to suspend the city’s right-to-shelter law amid an ongoing surge of asylum-seekers.
In a new filing in the state Supreme Court, lawyers for the Hochul administration said the state supports the city’s request to modify a decades-old consent decree requiring New York City to provide shelter to anyone homeless, regardless of their immigration status.
Hochul’s lawyers wrote in the letter to the court that the parties who signed the agreement more than 40 years ago never contemplated “the influx of so many migrants in such a short period of time.”
“Despite unprecedented resources deployed by the city and the state to assist the newly arrived migrants, the current situation is not sustainable,” they wrote.
Hochul’s court filing in the legal fight is the first time her administration has supported a rollback of the shelter mandate, which Adams requested from the court last week.
City officials also asked that the rules be suspended whenever the governor or mayor declares a state of emergency, and there is an influx of people seeking shelter.
“To be very clear, the city is not seeking to terminate the right to shelter; we are simply asking for the city’s obligations to be aligned with those of the rest of the state during states of emergency,” Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Throughout this crisis, not a single family with children has been forced to sleep on the streets.”
In July, the Adams administration moved to limit homeless shelter stays for single adult asylum seekers to 60 days to create more space for migrant families with children. In September, the city’s shelter limit was reduced to 30 days.
But homeless advocates like the Legal Aid Society, involved in the original consent decree, oppose the city’s efforts to lift the requirements. They say the move would leave many homeless migrants with nowhere to live as winter approaches.
“Thousands of human beings will be relegated to sleeping on the streets, exposed to the elements in a grave risk of bodily harm, and even death,” the group said.
New York City has seen more than 125,000 migrants arrive over the past year amid a surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border that has reached historic levels in recent months.
The Big Apple is caring for more than 64,000 migrants in more than 200 emergency shelters, with the city’s cost of responding to the crisis expected to grow to $12 billion over the next several years.
Last week, nearly 4,000 migrants arrived in New York City over a seven-day period ending Sunday, according to the Adams administration.