New York City won’t offer ‘right to shelter’ to some immigrants in deal with homeless advocates

Mar 15, 2024, 1:25 PM | Updated: 1:56 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Some immigrants in New York City could be formally denied emergency housing after officials and human rights advocates agreed to compromise on the interpretation of a unique legal decision that gives the “ right to shelter ” to anyone who asks, the mayor announced Friday.

Mayor Eric Adams asked a court in October to suspend the housing requirement in a state of emergency, drawing a challenge from The Legal Aid Society and another humanitarian group. The agreement essentially ends the blanket right to shelter for adult immigrants after the first 30 days they receive services.

The city can determine on a case-by-case basis whether to allow a migrant to stay in a shelter for more than 30 days, according to the settlement. Additional time will be granted on a showing of “extenuating circumstances, including significant efforts to resettle,” the settlement reads.

“This new agreement acknowledges the realities of where we are today, affirms our shared mission to help those in need and grants us additional flexibility to navigate this ongoing crisis,” Adams said in a recorded video announcing the settlement.

In return, Legal Aid expects the city to clear a backlog of immigrants, including families with children, who are reapplying for shelter space. The city also agreed to eliminate the use of waiting rooms as shelters and provide consistent access to bathrooms, showers and food, according to a statement from The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless.

“This settlement safeguards the right to shelter in the consent decree, ensuring single adults’ – both long-time New Yorkers and new arrivals – access to shelter, basic necessities and case management to transition from shelter to housing in the community,” said attorney Adriene Holder for The Legal Aid Society in a statement.

The agreement requires the city to share data with The Legal Aid Society about how many migrants are in shelters and where they are staying. Holder said the group won’t hesitate to sue if the city doesn’t comply.

Adams said over 183,000 immigrants have been in the city’s care at some point since 2022. Under the agreement, the unfettered right to shelter would be restored if the humanitarian emergency ended. Roughly 60% of those migrants have been able to leave the system, Ana Almanzar, the city’s deputy mayor for strategies, told reporters earlier this week.

New York City’s shelter requirement has been in place for more than four decades after the consent decree required the city to provide temporary housing for homeless people.

The announcement came after New York shelters began kicking immigrant families out of shelters after 60 days, forcing them to reapply and often wait days or more before securing another shelter spot. Single adults have been evicted every 30 days.

Constant address changes are an added strain for the many immigrants in the shelter who are applying for asylum, a step toward receiving legal permission to work. At an asylum court hearing Wednesday, a man from West Africa expressed surprise when a judge told him he had to submit a change of address in writing to the court within 5 days of changing addresses, even if he was moving every 30 days between shelters.

“It’s going to be a bit of a hassle for you,” immigration Judge Lori Adams said as she gave the man extra copies of the blue address forms.

National News

Associated Press

Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn pleads not guilty in Arizona’s fake elector case

PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers Boris Epshteyn and Jenna Ellis and former U.S. Senate candidate James Lamon have pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges for their roles in trying to overturn former President Donald Trump’s Arizona election loss to Joe Biden. The hearing Tuesday in a Phoenix courtroom marked the last of 18 arraignments in […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

Vermont man sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping woman and son outside of a mall

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of kidnapping a woman and her 4-year-old son by forcing them into her car outside a New Hampshire mall and bringing them to Vermont while he was searching for his estranged wife. Everett Simpson, 46, was […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Singer Justin Timberlake arrested and accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Timberlake was arrested early Tuesday on allegations that the singer was driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island, authorities said. Timberlake was released from custody later in the morning after being arraigned in Sag Harbor, on the eastern end of Long Island. He was charged with one DWI count, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Residents flee New Mexican town as wildfires bear down on village of 7,000

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of the mountain village of Ruidoso in southern New Mexico fled their homes under evacuation orders with little time to rescue belongings as fast-moving wildfires bore down on the town of 7,000 residents. Traffic clogged downtown streets of the normally pastoral village and summer vacation destination for hours Monday […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Tens of millions in the US are under dangerous heat warnings

PHOENIX (AP) — Extreme heat alerts continued for tens of millions of people in the United States on Tuesday as cities including Chicago broke records at the start of a week of sweltering weather. States in the Midwest started to bake Monday in what the National Weather Service called a dangerous and long duration heat […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart ordered to pay $350k in restitution

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A California judge ruled Monday that a man convicted of killing 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in 1996 must pay just over $350,000 to her family for costs they incurred after her death. Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ordered Paul Flores to make the payments after a […]

16 hours ago

New York City won’t offer ‘right to shelter’ to some immigrants in deal with homeless advocates