The Council of NY (legislative) approved this Thursday a package of projects aimed at helping the homeless to leave public shelters more quickly, which in turn would free up space for the flow of immigrants coming to the city, a decision made with the express opposition of the mayor Eric Adams.
With these reforms, obstacles faced by the homeless are eliminated, and a key element is that it repeals the rule that requires them to spend 90 days in a shelter in order to be entitled to a voucher from the city to pay for housing.
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It also adds to the list of beneficiaries families that have been sued by their owners for unpaid rent amounts.
Some 70,000 immigrants have come to NY in the last 10 months and the city is sheltering some 42,000, which led to the overflow of public shelters and the Adams Administration had to choose to rent all the rooms in some 155 hotels to accommodate them.
Right now there are 81,461 people in shelters, according to city data.
The mayor, as reported to the media, made calls to councilors in an attempt to get them not to vote for him “City Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement”, written by three Latina councilwomen.
The mayor now has the right of veto – used very rarely in other legislatures – something he put in place only once, in January of last year.
According to the mayor, implementing the proposals would be more expensive because it adds more beneficiaries for the aid vouchers and this would increase the waiting list for that benefit.
In a press conference prior to the vote, both the President of the Council, Adrienne Adamsas the author of the 90 day amendment, Councilwoman Diana AyalaThey came up against the mayor’s arguments.
According to an analysis by the Council on the fiscal impact of eliminating the 90-day stay in the shelter, it would mean savings for the city of 402 million a year.
The Council spokesperson stressed that before the flow of immigrants there was a homeless crisis and that the Adams Administration “has not focused enough on solutions to get New Yorkers out of shelters and into permanent housing”.
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“This is a solution to help reduce homelessness, stabilize communities and free up space for asylum seekers.” and save money paid for emergency shelters, he said.
When reacting to the vote, Fabian Levi, spokesman for the mayor, said they are evaluating options. She recalled that they had proposed to the Council to work together to eliminate the 90-day rule for families.
“They rejected the proposal and today approved a package that will make it more difficult for homeless New Yorkers to move out of the shelter into permanent housing.”, he stated, adding that the list of people with vouchers looking for a home will increase due to the housing shortage in the city.
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