Statement in Response to Mayor Adams' Plan to Force Asylum-Seeking Families Out of Homeless Shelters
Thursday, October 19, 2023 – Earlier this week, Mayor Eric Adams confirmed his administration’s plan to force asylum-seeking families out of homeless shelters after only 60 days. Under this policy, even asylum-seeking families with very young children in their care would be forced to reapply for shelter every 60 days.
Currently, more than 64,000 asylum seekers are in New York City’s shelter system; a number of them are children who are enrolled in the city’s public schools. Throwing vulnerable asylum-seeking families out of shelters every 60 days will only create further destabilization: it may result in children missing school and prevent families from accessing vital services like medical care. Moreover, it will increase points of contact with systems of surveillance, including the family policing system. For families already entangled in this system, it may keep them from safely reunifying and rebuilding.
In addition to being highly disruptive to newly-arrived families, this policy shift undermines the city’s right-to-shelter mandate, which has kept individuals and families off the streets and connected to services since 1981.
Instead of targeting and penalizing asylum-seeking families who are in deeply precarious situations, we call upon the Mayor to listen to the housing and immigration advocates, including The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless, who have already released a joint list of proposals to bolster shelter capacity to manage increased demand. The city must implement real solutions that address the needs of thousands of unhoused New York families, whether they have lived in the city for decades or days.
Header image: ANNIE MCDONOUGH