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New York calls for the suspension of the right to shelter for the homeless


The Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, has not stopped drawing attention in recent weeks to the crisis in the city’s social services due to the arrival of large numbers of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.

The accommodation capacity is overwhelmed – they’ve already occupied 150 hotels across the city and are considering setting up camps in parks, sports areas, college or public school campuses – and using the Roosevelt Hotel is a case in point.

But this sprawling facility is only a temporary aid to the problem, and Adams went further this week, demanding that the courts end the city’s mandate to house all homeless people. It is an obligation that has been in place since 1981 and does not apply to most cities in the country. “It is in the interest of everyone, including those entering the United States, that we be clear about the fact that New York cannot individually provide care for everyone who crosses the border,” he said in a statement.

“We want to support all the people who need it, but logistically we don’t have unlimited space,” Manuel Castro, New York City’s immigration commissioner, explains in an interview with this newspaper. “We need the support of the federal government so we can work it out.” That support means economic resources — the city has already spent $1,000 million serving immigrants and calculates that expenditures this year will be 4300 million And cooperation from the border countries so that they don’t send more immigrants here.

Castro acknowledges that the Big Apple’s social services resources have “been at their limits for months now” and that one solution is to start sending immigrants who no longer have a place to find locations outside of New York City, on Long Island or North.

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Immigrant support organizations view the measure with skepticism—they believe they will have greater ability to find work and resources in the city—and have sharply criticized the attempt to suspend the legal mandate—temporarily, and Adams’ promises—to provide shelter to all who need it.

“It’s inhumane,” Josiah Hacken, executive director of City Relief, a homeless support organization that in recent months has had to attend to many of the needs of recently arrived immigrant families, told this paper.

“The ability to care for the homeless was really under pressure before, and now it is much more so,” he says. “It’s a perfect storm: There are more needs, fewer resources.”

He acknowledges that there is some tension over the possibility that many resources that used to go to needy New Yorkers are now going to immigrants seeking asylum. “But immigrants can’t be used as an excuse for a lack of resources,” says Hacken, whose organization distributes food, hygiene products, diapers, and legal and employment counseling from eight centers across the city. He defends this, saying, “We must face this requirement.” There have always been large waves of immigrants here. From the Irish, from the Italians. Now from Venezuelans. That’s what makes the city special.”

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