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NYC: Mayor Adams strikes accord with legal aid society

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In response to the escalating migrant humanitarian crisis, Mayor Eric Adams has orchestrated a pivotal agreement with The Legal Aid Society, offering New York City a broader scope of action under the 1981 Callahan v. Carey consent decree concerning the “Right to Shelter.”

This landmark decision allows the city increased flexibility to navigate the influx of migrants and manage its shelter system effectively.

Following extensive negotiations and a stark absence of federal support, the agreement acknowledges the unprecedented strain on the city’s resources caused by the surge in migrant arrivals.

Mayor Adams emphasized that while New York City has admirably shouldered the responsibility of sheltering approximately 183,000 new arrivals since 2022, the current crisis exceeds the initial parameters of the Right to Shelter mandate, which was designed for a much smaller population.

Mayor Adams expressed gratitude to the court and The Legal Aid Society for their recognition of the exigent circumstances and provision of additional tools to address the crisis.

The accord permits the city to regulate entries and exits from the shelter system for single adult migrants, ensuring that resources are prioritized for the most vulnerable individuals while safeguarding the city’s ability to provide essential support.

City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix hailed the agreement as a testament to collaborative efforts to confront one of the city’s most significant challenges.

The outlined plan aims to stabilize the shelter system, offering stability to those in need while streamlining processes to accommodate the surge in arrivals.

Acknowledging the humanity at the core of the crisis, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack underscored the city’s commitment to upholding its status as a haven for immigrants.

The agreement reflects the unprecedented nature of the challenge and reaffirms the city’s dedication to providing a safe haven for those pursuing the American Dream.

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom stressed the need for comprehensive federal reform, highlighting the inadequacy of local responses in addressing a national issue of this magnitude.

She emphasized the importance of multi-level governmental engagement to implement effective solutions.

City Hall Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg affirmed that the agreement aligns with the current reality faced by New York City, granting the municipality the necessary flexibility to manage the crisis efficiently.

Under the stipulation, the city can adjust shelter provisions, providing adult migrants with 30 days of shelter, extendable only under specific circumstances, while individuals under 23 years old will receive 60 days of shelter.

The agreement also prioritizes assistance for younger adult migrants and facilitates their transition towards self-sufficiency through reticketing services.

Since the onset of the crisis, New York City has taken proactive measures, including the establishment of emergency sites and navigation centers to support asylum seekers.

Additionally, initiatives such as the Asylum Application Help Center have facilitated the submission of thousands of asylum and work authorization applications, demonstrating the city’s commitment to aiding migrants despite limited external assistance.

In conclusion, Mayor Adams’ administration remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting migrants amidst the ongoing crisis, advocating for comprehensive federal support while implementing pragmatic solutions to address immediate challenges.

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