With nearly 3,000 migrants arriving weekly, the city is running out of shelter options.
On Tuesday, city lawyers, in response to state criticism of the city’s migrant response, asked for a series of new sites for approval. The sites included psychiatric centers, armories, the Javits Center and Ward’s Island.
What You Need To Know
- In a letter, dated Tuesday, city lawyers listed a host of new state sites for housing migrants
- Among the list are armories, psychiatric centers and Ward's Island
- More than 104,000 migrants have arrived to the city, with more than 59,000 in the city's care
The letter obtained by NY1 is the latest move in a back-and-forth between local and state officials over housing asylum seekers.
At an unrelated press conference, city officials called for more help.
“As the mayor said in a statement yesterday, unless we are able to get sustained and coordinated state and federal support work authorization and a decompression strategy we will be forced racing to play this whack-a mole racing to keep opening relief centers as asylum seekers keeping arriving by the thousands,” said Anne Willliams-Isom, deputy mayor of health and human services.
The letter consisted of reasons why an initial list of state properties was denied.
City lawyers say it was because many of the locations could not house at least 300 people and were in flood zones or could not comply with the fire codes.
For example, the city’s reasoning for declining the use of the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens was because “the city would only be permitted use of the facility through Sept. 7, 2023.”
The letter also says the city wanted to use a parking lot nearby for a tent but was denied.
According to the letter, city officials are investigating housing migrants at Pier 7 in Brooklyn.
The city also called on the state to take on the resettlement program, which hasn’t seen much success, the letter stated.
“The state is better placed than the city to establish and manage sites outside the city due to its ability to surmount local interference and the amount of potentially relevant information regarding upstate localities it obtains in the normal course,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, a court case over the city’s “right-to-shelter law” is ongoing.
Lawyers from all sides of the argument met in court on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
No court order was issued, but the judge said all parties would continue communicating.
“The last time we were here, it was clear to everyone that the city and the state were having communication difficulties. That’s why you saw the order that came last time. And since then I think we’ve had very productive conversations,” said Josh Goldfein, staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society.
The case centers on the “right-to-shelter” and its application potentially around the state.
“I think a winning strategy is to do everything possible at the state and city level to make sure people don’t end up on the streets. Whatever it takes, that is the basic standard we have to judge success by,” Steve Banks, who used to run the city’s Department of Homeless Services and co-counsel with Legal Aid on the case.
More 104,000 migrants have arrived to the city, with more than 59,000 in the city’s care.