NYC Begins Evicting Migrants from Shelters Amid Strain on Resources

New York City has started evicting migrants from its shelter system to ease the strain on resources, following a more aggressive phase of its response to the ongoing migrant crisis.

The first wave of evictions affects adult migrants who received 30-day notices last month. Those wishing to stay longer must meet specific exceptions. This week, 250 migrants are impacted, with 74 denied extensions and 118 granted.

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration hopes the threat of eviction will encourage migrants to find other housing, reducing the shelter population of 65,000, primarily families with children, and making room for new arrivals from the southern border.

“We are trying to exit people out of the system for stability and to set up something more permanent,” said Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor leading the city’s migrant response.

However, the evictions have raised concerns among migrants and advocates. Deborah Berkman of the New York Legal Assistance Group warned, “It seems extremely likely that we will see an increase in street homelessness.”

The policy aligns with moves by other cities. Denver now limits shelter stays to 72 hours, and Chicago began evicting migrants from shelters in March.

New York City, obligated by a 1981 legal agreement to house the homeless, recently altered its right-to-shelter rule to impose new time limits for migrants, effective this week. Previously, migrants could reapply for shelter every 30 days indefinitely.

Under the new rules, single adult migrants and childless adult families can stay for 30 days, younger adults for 60 days, with extensions possible for those with extenuating circumstances, such as an impending move, immigration hearing, or serious medical issue.

The rules do not apply to migrant families with children, who can stay for up to 60 days and reapply without restrictions.

Migrants like Mohamed Lamine Cissé from Guinea and Angel Urbina from Venezuela face challenges in proving they meet the exceptions due to their immigration status, which prohibits legal employment. “If the state were to give us work permits, the shelters wouldn’t exist,” said Cissé.

Urbina, who has a leg injury requiring surgery, must provide a doctor’s note to extend his shelter stay. “I need to bring my proof,” he said.