The Honorable Kathy Hochul Governor of the State of New York NYS Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Hochul:
For more than forty years, New York’s bedrock Right to Shelter has served as an inviolable baseline of humanity and decency, ensuring that people without homes are not relegated to bedding down in public spaces, dangerously exposed to the elements. It is because of this right that New York City does not have the vast tent encampments seen in so many other cities around the country. Since 1981, the Right to Shelter has meant that hundreds of thousands of homeless individuals have had an alternative to sleeping on the streets. Simply put, the Right to Shelter saves lives, and is integral to the humanity of our community.
We, the undersigned organizations, are vehemently opposed to your and Mayor Adams’ efforts to undermine the legal Right to Shelter for both new arrival and longtime New Yorkers, and see such efforts as not only an abrogation of your moral and legal duties, but as a betrayal of the proud history of New York State as a beacon of humane and progressive values as expressed in Article XVII of the New York State Constitution, stating:
The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions, and in such manner and by such means, as the legislature may from time to time determine.
Further, we urge you to cease spreading the false narrative that people from other nations would simply cease coming to New York City if there were no Right to Shelter. People come to New York because it has a well-earned reputation as a welcoming and tolerant city of humane values, of opportunity, and of diverse cultures. That will not change, nor do we believe it should change. And thus gutting the Right to Shelter will not deter people from coming here. In fact, between 1970 and 1980, roughly 80,000 immigrants per year came into the city – before there was a Right to Shelter.
Destroying the legal Right to Shelter for homeless New Yorkers and newcomers would have a devastating impact on our community, would cause irreparable harm to countless people who lack a safe place to sleep, and would do nothing to solve the problems you are trying to address.
With respect to solving those problems, we applaud you for the commitments you have made to help new arrivals process work authorizations and find employment and housing throughout the state, and we eagerly await updates to see how your plan does in fact help alleviate the strains on the relief systems.
We do, however, continue to urge you to use the full authority and resources of your office to do more by implementing a comprehensive statewide decompression and resettlement plan for the new arrivals. New Yorkers throughout the state are clearly anxious for a clear and coordinated response from your office.
This is a moment in history that will define your legacy, and we stand ready to work with you to help ensure that all in our state – whether longtime New Yorkers or new arrivals – have access to decent shelter, sufficient food, and a clear pathway to housing and stability.
It is time to end the chaos, to stand up for what’s right, and to ensure that no one in need is ever relegated to sleeping on the streets.
Coalition for the HomelessThe Legal Aid Society For the ManyHunger Free AmericaCoalition for Homeless YouthCabrini Immigrant Services of NYCUlster Immigrant Defense NetworkWorker Justice Center of NY, Inc.Equality New YorkTransnational Villages Network – Red de Pueblos TransnacionalesPrincess Diana FoundationJackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity NetworkHenry Street SettlementSaratoga Immigration CoalitionThe Partnership To End HomelessnessChinese-American Planning Council (CPC)Community Voices HeardThe Gathering for JusticeCitizens’ Committee for Children of New YorkOpen Hearts InitiativeInterfaith Assembly on Homelessness and HousingNew York Civil Liberties Union/ACLU of New YorkAssociation for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)Center for Community AlternativesBronxWorksSafe HorizonIMPACCT BrooklynCooper Square CommitteeCommunity Voices HeardFifth Avenue CommitteeNeighbors Helping NeighborsThe Interfaith Alliance of RochesterHousing Justice for AllNew York County Defender ServicesVOCAL-NYRENA (Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association)New Economy ProjectMet Council on HousingNY Working Families PartyHousing Rights InitiativeUnlock NYCNorthwest Bronx Community and Clergy CoalitionHousing WorksCatholic Migration ServicesCaribbean Equality ProjectNew York City Community Land InitiativeThis Land is Ours CLTOpen New YorkNeighbors TogetherWestern Queens Community Land TrustRiverside Language Program, Inc.Saving Justice newsletterSanctuary for FamiliesSamaritan Daytop Village, IncUnited Madrassi Association Inc.The Ali Forney CenterRefugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, Inc.Corporation for Supportive HousingStrong Economy For All CoalitionFor the ManyRoads to SuccessUniversity SettlementUnited Neighborhood HousesThe Health & Housing ConsortiumVolunteers of America-Greater New YorkInterfaith Assembly on Homelessness and HousingAmerican Civic AssociationThe Harding Ford Vision, IncBrooklyn Level UpParents Supporting Parents NYBuild For GoodThe Children’s VillageJews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)UHABWIN – Women in Need, Inc.Public Health SolutionsUrban PathwaysCovenant House New YorkWorkers United NY NJ Regional Joint Board a/w SEIURising Ground, Inc.Invest In Our New YorkCitizen Action of New YorkWomen’s Housing and Economic Development CorporationMetropolitan Community Church of New YorkMobilization for JusticeNew York City Employment and Training CoalitionNational Youth Rights Association – NYRAHealth x Housing Lab at NYU Langone HealthTenants & NeighborsUM Church of the VillageChildren’s RightsMake the Road NYNew York Legal Assistance GroupThe New York Women’s FoundationShower Power, Inc.Judson Memorial Church