Since mid-2022, New York has been experiencing a substantial influx of new arrivals from other nations, many fleeing persecution in their home countries, most having experienced unimaginable hardship and trauma to get here. The new arrivals are in need of shelter, services, and our compassion.

This surge of newcomers is occurring amidst a homelessness and housing crisis that is already relegating record numbers of New Yorkers to emergency shelters and to the streets, and the city’s shelter census is now higher than it has ever been.

New York City’s relief systems are strained, but the City should not have to shoulder the response to this overwhelming need without meaningful assistance from the State. This situation impacts all New Yorkers, and requires the full resources and authority of Governor Hochul.

This urgent letter to Governor Hochul from concerned organizations throughout New York asks the Governor to step up and provide decisive leadership and take immediate and specific action to ensure that no one is deprived of a safe place to sleep, out of the elements, as the influx of new arrivals continues.


August 2023 
The Honorable Kathy Hochul 
Governor of the State of New York 
NYS Capitol Building 
Albany, NY 12224 

Dear Governor Hochul:

On behalf of the undersigned, we urge you to provide decisive leadership and to take immediate action to help manage the pressing situation created by the current influx of new arrivals into the State of New York from countries around the globe.  This is a humanitarian crisis that impacts all New Yorkers and requires the authority and resources of your office to address. 

We appreciate that you have declared a State of Emergency and are already working to provide some valuable resources to assist New York City, including most recently by funding two sites in New York City that will serve up to 3,000 adult men. But, with hundreds of new arrivals each day into New York City and the uncertain future of the Biden administration’s asylum policy, much more is needed.  

We look to you for a comprehensive State plan that: (1) immediately identifies and secures new locations to alleviate the shelter capacity crisis so that families and individuals are not relegated to sleeping on the streets; and (2) helps reduce the skyrocketing shelter census to create more capacity in the existing system. 

As recent images of new arrivals sleeping on the streets of New York so starkly illustrate, that task cannot fall to local leaders and NGOs alone. It is imperative that you, as Governor, play a strong leadership role in addressing this dire situation. The current ad hoc approaches have resulted in busloads of families and individuals showing up unexpectedly in localities around the state and in almost nightly news images of suffering crowds of men, women and children desperate for help. Such outcomes fuel feelings of chaos and confusion among all New Yorkers who know that we can, and must, do better. 

While a thorough New York State decompression and resettlement plan for new arrivals is desperately needed to fully achieve the goals outlined above, we ask you to immediately prioritize deploying urgently needed State resources to ensure sufficient temporary housing capacity for the new arrivals and New Yorkers.  

To this end, we ask you to take four concrete steps: 

  1. Invoke New York Executive Law 29-a or other applicable provisions of law to invalidate executive orders in counties that have refused to accept new arrivals; alternatively, have the State intervene in pending cases to overturn the obstructive executive orders. You previously characterized these executive orders as “bigoted policies based on fear and intimidation” inconsistent with New York’s core values – as memorialized in Article XVII of the New York State Constitution, which explicitly states that “the aid, care and support of the needy” are public concerns. We applaud your statement and beseech you to take the necessary corresponding actions to bring direction and order to this chaotic and unacceptable situation. Doing so would immediately open up a significant number of hotel rooms for new arrivals, keeping them safe and off the streets. 
  2. Reach out to mayors and county executives throughout the state to encourage them to receive new arrivals. As Governor of a state in a time of crisis – one that unfortunately follows closely on the heels of the COVID-19 crisis that also challenged us as a state – you are uniquely positioned to set the tone for counties and localities throughout New York. Again, we look to you to use your leadership, and the authority and resources of your office, to rally support to address this statewide humanitarian crisis. 
  3. Identify more State-owned facilities that can serve as temporary housing for new arrivals. As noted above, we appreciate that the State has provided a few sites, such as Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, the JFK seasonal mail sorting building, the Lincoln Correctional Facility in NYC, and now Randall’s Island, to serve as emergency housing facilities for new arrivals. However, it is imperative that the full inventory of State-owned facilities throughout New York, including armories, be quickly and thoroughly assessed so that appropriate facilities can be identified and made rapidly available to address the critical and immediate need for additional temporary housing.
  4. Help coordinate the relocation of the new arrivals to the facilities and localities described above. Again, this is a situation that impacts all New Yorkers and all of us as compassionate human beings who believe that no one should be relegated to sleeping on the streets.  A humanitarian crisis of this magnitude clearly requires a level of leadership and coordination that can only come from your office. We urge you to appoint someone with the authority and resources to quickly and effectively coordinate, in cooperation with New York City officials and relevant stakeholders statewide, the placement of new arrivals in appropriate temporary housing facilities throughout the state.  

The steps above represent the most urgently needed measures we look to you to implement to prevent a growing humanitarian catastrophe, as roughly two thousand people per week continue to arrive in New York from other nations and in need of temporary housing. Other immediate needs include additional funding and staffing to support efforts already underway in New York City. And, again, what is needed more broadly is a comprehensive New York State statewide decompression and resettlement plan to address the situation as it continues to evolve. 

This is a unique moment in history, when we as a community are being challenged to demonstrate our humanity in the face of tremendous suffering and need. New York State has the resources and the managerial to help. You have the authority to deploy those resources. We look to you to provide the leadership needed to meet this moment, and we stand ready to work with you to protect the core values we, as New Yorkers, seek to preserve. 

Respectfully signed, 

Coalition for the Homeless
The Legal Aid Society
Homeless Services United
Make the Road New York
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Community Service Society of New York
Mount Vernon United Tenants
Citizens Committee for Children
Housing Rights Initiative
Housing Works, Inc.
Urban Pathways
Catholic Charities – Archdiocese of New York Homebase
Met Council on Housing
Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association
Housing Justice for All
Da Homeless Hero
Strong Economy For All Coalition
Supportive Housing Network of NY
For the Many
Cooper Square Committee
NYCNOWC Red de Cooperativas de Nueva York
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
CASA in Action
The Corporation for Supportive Housing
Caribbean Equality Project
Workplace Project
Columbia County Sanctuary Movement
Care For the Homeless
Alliance for Quality Education
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, Inc.
Pratt Center for Community Development
New York State Council of Churches
Tenants & Neighbors
Project Hospitality
Cabrini Mission Foundation
Syracuse Tenants Union
Neighbors Together
Envision Freedom Fund
(HRX) The Community Harm Reduction Project
Transnational Villages Network – Red de Pueblos Transnacionales
New York Communities for Change
Release Aging People in Prison
Fifth Avenue Committee
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc.
Center for Popular Democracy Action
Sanctuary for Families
Chinese-American Planning Council
The Health & Housing Consortium
Working Families Party – Nassau County
Long Island Activists
Health x Housing Lab at NYU Langone Health
The Children’s Village
West Hill Refugee Welcome Center
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Citizen Action of New York
United Neighborhood Houses
New York City Employment and Training Coalition
Saratoga Immigration Coalition
BronxWorks, Inc.
The Institute for Family Health
The Partnership to End Homelessness
Queens Community House
Public Health Solutions
Samaritan Daytop Village, Inc
Parents Supporting Parents NY
Arab-American Family Support Center
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Sisters of Mercy Justice Team
Community Voices Heard
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation
SCO Family of Services
The Gathering for Justice
Day Care Council of New York
Workers United NY NJ Regional Joint Board
Open New York
Volunteers of America – Greater New York
New York Working Families Party
Equality New York
MinKwon Center for Community Action
Covenant House New York
Jewish Family Services of Western New York
American Civic Association
New York Civil Liberties Union, NYCLU/ACLU of New York
Acacia Network
Jackson Heights Immigration Solidarity Network (JHISN)
New York City Youth Action Board
Hope’s Door
Capital Area Council of Churches
Saving Justice Newsletter
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Albany
Henry Street Settlement
NICE – New Immigrant Community Empowerment
Evergreen Health
Center for Community Alternatives
United Federation of Teachers
United Madrassi Association Inc.
Rising Ground, Inc.
Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition
Roads to Success
University Settlement
Open Hearts Initiative
Invest in Our New York
Worker Justice Center of New York
Safe Horizon
New York Legal Assistance Group
City Harvest, Inc.
Part of the Solution (POTS)
City-Wide Tenant Union ROC
Long Island Immigration Clinic, The Sisters of St. Joseph
Centro Corazon de Maria
The Ali Forney Center
Ulster Immigrant Defense Network
Long Island Housing Services, Inc.
New York Doctors Coalition
Partners for Dignity & Rights
East Harlem Tutorial Program
The Harding Ford Vision, Inc
Crossroads Community Services
National Youth Rights Association – NYRA
LAMP Catholic Ministries
Riverside Language Program, Inc.