The frustration with city and state officials over their push to end the right-to-shelter seems to be boiling over.

“Gutting the right-to-shelter is insanity and it will do nothing but put countless lives at great harm,” said David Giffen, executive director for Coalition for the Homeless.

What You Need To Know

  • Lawyers and homeless advocates expressed disappointment at Gov. Kathy Hochul's support for suspending the right-to-shelter

  • The mandate, which requires the city to provide a bed to anyone in need, has been in place for over 40 years

  • Homeless advocates say any change to the law could lead to migrants and unhoused New Yorkers living on the streets

  • The next court hearing in the right-to-shelter case is Thursday

Homeless advocates in a new court filing Wednesday took aim at Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recent support of suspending the longstanding mandate that requires the city to provide a bed to anyone in need.

“I would like to say how deeply disappointing it is to see Governor Hochul who has described the situation here as a humanitarian crisis support Mayor Adams in his misguided efforts,” said Giffen.

Lawyers defending the mandate say the governor’s office is failing to provide sufficient resources to the city and refusing to implement statewide strategies, including the use of federally approved sites outside the city.

“There are a number of sites the state has refused to sign off on so we have asked the question and we have not received an answer,” said Josh Goldfein, staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society.  

Advocates said the other programs the state has instituted need time to yield results.

“She has put some elements in place with help processing work authorizations and we are happy to see that and that needs some time to come to fruition but it has not been enough. It’s been a little too late at this point,” said Giffen.

However, the mayor’s administration says they are shouldering an unsustainable crisis.

“The city is not seeking to terminate Callahan; we are simply asking for the city’s obligation’s to be aligned with those of the rest of the state during states of emergency. Throughout this crisis, because of our efforts, not a single family with children has been forced to sleep on the streets, but with hundreds of new asylum seekers continuing to arrive every day, New York City cannot do this alone,” said a City Hall spokesperson on Wednesday. 

The next court conference in the case is Thursday morning, where a new judge will be presiding over the matter.

Lawyers in the case and advocates worry that suspending the law is not going to stop the flow but instead leads to people living on the streets.

“It does seem that their hope here is that the public spectacle of human suffering will serve as some kind of deterrent to people coming to New York City. We believe that is not only a bad strategy, an inhumane strategy, but one that will fail, said Giffen.

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, the City Council held an oversight hearing on the city’s efforts to provide legal services to migrants.

One issue that is rising is getting immigration notices to single men and migrant families under the new 30-and-60-day shelter limits.

Under federal mail rules, for a migrant that is switching locations, they must fill out paperwork to get their change of address approved before their mail gets sent to a different location, according to city officials.

“Who is the city providing assistance with the change of address for the various applications?” asked Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif.

To which a city official said they are working on a solution but have had some success.

“A lot of them have an idea of where they are going to be and so we put that address where they are moving to. In some instances we continue with the shelter they were at knowing that their mail will be held for 30 days,” said Masha Gindler, executive director of the Asylum Application Help Center.

According to officials, the city has helped 5,600 migrants apply for asylum as of Wednesday.