Callahan Under Attack

For over 42 years the Coalition for the Homeless, with our partners at The Legal Aid Society, has zealously defended and successfully expanded the legal Right to Shelter for anyone experiencing homelessness in New York. Throughout that period, there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to erode this right despite dramatic increases in homelessness, primarily among Black and Latinx people.

On May 23, 2023, as the City continued to experience an influx of asylum seekers and other new arrivals, Mayor Adams launched a series of attempts to undermine the legal mandates that ensure that no one is relegated to sleeping on the streets of New York. Using the humanitarian crisis as a scapegoat for their failure to reduce the soaring preexisting shelter population, the Adams Administration asked to modify the Callahan consent decree to limit the City’s legal obligations. But the modifications sought by the City would have removed critical fundamental protections for vulnerable people and resulted in thousands of people sleeping on city streets, exposed to the elements.

After months of Court-ordered mediation, the Coalition for the Homeless and the City reached a settlement that prevents the City from adopting such inhumane measures and establishes a temporary means of addressing the humanitarian crisis without modifying the Right to Shelter. (The State did not join the agreement.) Judge Lebovits entered this settlement as a Court order on March 15, 2024 and it took effect immediately.

The Coalition for the Homeless and Legal Aid Society will continue to monitor the situation and will enforce the settlement to ensure all unhoused individuals and families regardless of the place from which they hail are not relegated to living on the streets.

Continue to visit this page for updates and additional information.