Legal Aid, Coalition for the Homeless Respond to Mayor Eric Adams’ Misleading and Problematic Remarks on Asylum Families and Others Seeking Safe Refuge at Local Homeless Shelters

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless released the following statement in response to Mayor Eric Adams’ misleading and problematic comments on asylum families and others seeking safe refuge at local homeless shelters:

“The Mayor isn’t speaking the whole truth. We spoke to eight families with children this morning who slept on
the floor last night at the City’s shelter intake center in the Bronx, in addition to the four families the Mayor
acknowledged who had slept there Sunday night. This humanitarian crisis shows no sign of abating anytime soon
regardless of how many press conferences the Mayor holds to conceal the reality.

As City officials just acknowledged, they have known about this influx of families, a portion attributable to those
seeking asylum, for months. But, despite this knowledge, the Administration still lacks a plan to ensure safe
shelter placement, and officials failed to detail any specifics for a viable path forward at today’s press conference, opting instead to heap praise on each other. The City is also failing to use its resources to move people into permanent housing.

Our clients need action, not grandstanding and platitudes, that complies with a court order and the law, pursuant
to the City’s legal and moral obligation to ensure that everyone seeking shelter, regardless of immigration status,
is provided with that relief.

The City must immediately increase capacity to more quickly process requests for shelter placements and
collaborate with the hundreds of hotels throughout the five boroughs to increase the amount of available beds.
Enough with the self-aggrandizing. Our clients deserve a plan, and we’re prepared to file immediate litigation
should the Adams Administration continue to violate the law.”

In addition to the four families that the City confirmed arrived before 10 p.m. this past Sunday and were left overnight at PATH, Legal Aid and the Coalition are aware of many more families who have slept in the office with their children most nights since Sunday.

Legal Aid has observed first-hand hours-long lines to begin the intake process. Some of these families were in line well before the 10 p.m. deadline but were not recorded as having arrived before the deadline because the line was so long.

Legal Aid and the Coalition met with the City earlier today and officials agreed to review its arrival time procedure. The City also confirmed that people who leave the building to secure food, water or fresh air lose their place in line and have to start the process again, likely prompting the City to mark these people as having “arrived” after the 10 p.m. deadline.