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NYC to limit shelter stay for asylum-seekers with children

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(NEW YORK) — New York City officials are limiting the time asylum-seekers with children can spend in the city’s shelter system.

Starting next week, city officials will begin notifying some families that they have 60 days to find alternative housing. Last month, NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ administration announced it would be handing out 30-day notices for adult migrants without children.

The move to restrict the amount of time in the shelter system comes as the city continues to grapple with a large number of asylum-seekers coming to the city since spring of last year. Over 126,000 asylum-seekers have moved through the shelter system so far since Spring 2022.

“For over a year, New York City has led the response to this national crisis, but significant additional resources, coordination, and support are needed from all levels of government. With over 64,100 asylum seekers still in the city’s care, and thousands more migrants arriving every week, expanding this policy to all asylum-seekers in our care is the only way to help migrants take the next steps on their journeys,” Mayor Adams said in a statement Monday.

The mayor’s office said it would pair the notices with “intensified case work” to help asylum-seekers figure out their next steps. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office told ABC News that if someone fails to secure housing by the deadline, they’ll need to return to the city’s intake center and seek a new placement.

Some advocates believe issuing the notices is a way for the Adams administration to limit its obligation’s under the city’s “right-to-shelter” laws which require the city to provide shelter for anyone in need. The city has asked a court to consider allowing the city to consider allowing it relinquish some of those obligations if it doesn’t have “the resources and capacity to establish and maintain sufficient shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter,” according to court filings.

On Monday, the administration announced it will open a temporary shelter at Floyd Bennett Field in the coming weeks that will be serve approximately 500 families in a “semi-congregate setting” with privacy dividers and locks.

“It’s outrageous the way the Adams administration continues to go out of its way to gut New York City’s right-to-shelter protections. This policy ensures that all New Yorkers, no matter when they arrived here, can maintain a roof over their heads while they stabilize their lives and get on the road to self-sufficiency,” Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in part in a statement.

He added, “Now, Mayor Adams is putting children in danger by forcing some asylum seeking families to stay in congregate settings as well as mandating families re-apply for shelter after 60 days, a move that creates unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles for people who are already struggling.”

The spokesperson for the mayor’s office told ABC News they hoped the city could continue housing migrants without forcing families with children on to the streets and reiterated the administration’s call for more support from the state and federal governments.

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