Joint Statement from Legal Aid, Coalition for the Homeless on Mayor Eric Adams’ Declaration of State of Emergency

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless issued the following statement in response to Mayor Eric Adams’ remarks today on asylum seekers:

“We agree with Mayor Adams that Washington and Albany need to meet the moment with urgency and additional support. All levels of government have a legal and moral duty to care for these individuals and families who have endured so much trauma already.

“However, the reason that the shelter census is at an all-time high is not solely because of an influx of asylum seekers. It is the City’s historic shameful failure to adequately invest in affordable housing that has continued to fuel mass homelessness.

“It was heartening to hear that City Hall will soon announce measures to more quickly transition homeless New Yorkers from shelters to permanent housing. We have been pressing the City to prioritize these moves for years as the average lengths of stay in shelter continue to rise to unacceptable levels. Most importantly, these forthcoming measures should include an overhaul of CityFHEPS, such as streamlining administrative issues and expanding access.

“Lastly, we reaffirm our call on the City to abandon its plan to construct tent cities, and to instead focus on high-quality indoor shelter options and permanent housing.”