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Mayor Adams orders exceptions to decades-old right-to-shelter law as NYC preps for more migrants

Gothamist, Elizabeth Kim, May 10, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order Wednesday evening allowing city officials to bypass certain portions of New York City’s decades old right-to-shelter law, which obligates the city to provide a bed to anyone who asks for one.

The executive order, first reported by Gothamist, suspends certain minimum shelter requirements, including a rule which requires those seeking shelter to receive a bed within a certain time frame. It would also allow the city to avoid fulfilling a requirement that families have unitswith access to a bathroom, refrigerator and kitchen.

The suspension of portions of the landmark decree that paved the way for New York City’s modern shelter system takes effect immediately. It remains in effect for five days, unless the city renews it.

Adams’ executive order comes on the eve of the expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era border policy that limited new arrivals from coming into the country. Since last spring, more than 61,000 migrants and asylum seekers have come to New York City, with around 37,500 residing in city shelters and emergency housing.

The mayor has pleaded for federal government assistance to help with the crisis, which city officials say will cost billions over the next several years. But his calls have intensified as buses with migrants sent by officials in border states have resumed and are expected to increase in the coming days and weeks with the end of Title 42.

News of the executive order became public after Joshua Goldfein, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society, told Gothamist that he received a phone call Wednesday afternoon from an attorney in the Department of Homeless Services informing him of the executive order.

Read More: Gothamist