NYC reaches deal in ‘right to shelter’ legal fight

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration on Friday reached a deal in the migrant-fueled legal fight over the Big Apple’s decades-old “right to shelter” mandate that promises housing to anyone who asks for it.  

The city, state and Legal Aid had been locked in private mediation since October as they sought to reach a compromise over the legal requirement, which stems from a series of rulings dating back to the 1980s. The deal was announced mid-afternoon Friday and details were not immediately available.

The mayor has long argued that the so-called “right to shelter” should be nixed in regards to asylum seekers because the Big Apple can’t cope with the nearly 183,000 migrants that have poured into the city since spring 2022.

Hizzoner has repeatedly stressed the city now needs to be able to turn some away because Gotham’s resources have already buckled under the weight of a migrant crisis that he forecasts will set taxpayers back $10 billion over the next few years.

Mayor Eric Adams has long argued that the so-called “right to shelter” should be nixed in regards to asylum seekers. William Farrington

As the legal saga heated up, Gov. Kathy Hochul — who initially pushed back — eventually relented and came out in support of the mayor’s push to suspend or modify the long-standing mandate as the city copes with tens of thousands of new migrants arrivals.

“The original premise behind the right to shelter was, for starters, for homeless men on the streets, people experiencing aids that was [then] extended to families,” the governor said late last year. “But never was it envisioned being an unlimited universal right, or obligation on the city, to house literally the entire world.”

Adams said the city can not handle the strain of migrants. James Keivom
A deal was reached in the “right to shelter” mandate. Helayne Seidman

Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Society, which backs the rights of homeless New Yorkers regardless of citizenship, argued that rescinding the rule would only result in more people sleeping on the Big Apple’s streets.

The Adams administration has already tried to ease the burden on the city by implementing a policy that evicts migrant families with kids from shelters after 60 days and single adult migrants after 30 days.

Under the rule, the asylum seekers have to reapply for shelter once they reach their stay limit.

The city is currently sheltering 64,600 asylum seekers in various shelters scattered throughout the five boroughs, according to City Hall’s latest data.

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