The Migrant Crisis in New York City
Providing Emergency Shelter to Migrants
New York City is facing an 18-month migrant crisis, and it is legally obligated to provide a bed for every homeless person who requests one under a decades-old court settlement. However, with more than 65,000 migrants currently seeking emergency shelter, the city has walked away from its obligation, at least for some people. If you exceed the city’s 30-day or 60-day limit on stays at any one migrant shelter, there is no guarantee of a bed. Instead, waiting areas have been established for migrants who have left the shelter system and are now asking to come back.
Waiting for a Spaces in the Bronx and Queens
A video provided to The New York Times shows dozens of migrant men resting on blue city-issued blankets while waiting to be placed in Bronx shelters. Vinicius Funes, a 26-year-old migrant from Honduras, had spent two nights waiting in a chair at New York City’s official arrival center for migrants at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan but was then given a handout directing him to what he thought was a homeless shelter. The space turned out to be a “reticketing” office where the city buys migrants a one-way passage out of town. With nowhere to go, Mr. Funes returned to the Roosevelt, where he got a text from a friend about a space at a Bronx shelter. There were no beds there, but a waiting room where, along with at least 50 other men, he spent the night on the floor with only a blue city-issued blanket to rest on, said Mr. Funes and another migrant who gave his name only as Daniel A.
Another city-designated waiting area is a church in Astoria, Queens, where several migrants have slept on the floor for up to five days. Despite this situation, the city is currently providing emergency shelter to more than 65,000 migrants, and thousands are moving out of the city’s shelter system in recent weeks with the urging of city workers.
The Current State of the Migrant Crisis
The surge of new arrivals that was accelerating in recent weeks is now easing, with around 2,500 migrants processed at the arrival center last week, down from more than 3,500 per week for the past month. Still, the number of migrants in shelters continues to climb each month since the crisis began, and housing them is costing the city over $10 million per day. The city is also discussing issuing sleeping bags and tents to migrants and letting them camp in designated areas. The goal is to “localize” settlements as much as possible, to avoid “what’s happening in other cities, where you’re seeing tent cities pop up all over the place,” according to Mayor Eric Adams.
The Right-to-Shelter Case
New York City is facing a right-to-shelter case, and Legal Aid Society is fighting an attempt by the city to suspend the so-called right to shelter. Currently, migrants are being given contradictory instructions as they are shifted from place to place, causing mass confusion, according to Kathryn Kliff, a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society. Putting people in tents, especially with winter coming, “is very much a violation of anything we would possibly accept” and would cause “physical harm and trauma for people who have already undergone immense amounts of trauma.”
New York City is failing in its obligation to provide emergency shelter to every homeless person. The migrant crisis has added to the already dire situation of providing shelter to homeless people, and the city needs to find immediate solutions. Issuing tents and sleeping bags is not a solution, as it will cause physical harm and trauma for people who have already undergone immense amounts of trauma. The city needs to live up to its obligation and provide beds for every homeless person who requests one.
Originally Post From https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/28/nyregion/nyc-migrant-crisis-shelter.html
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