This week, as Mayor Eric Adams started legal action to suspend the city's 40-year-old right-to-shelter ordinance due to a city being "overextended" by recently arrived migrants, more than 1,000 beds and several hundred family units managed by the Department of Homeless Services sat vacant.
On Tuesday, when Adams filed a lawsuit to change the city's shelter rule, the Department of Homeless Services only processed 89 migrants, according to information provided by city authorities to Coalition for the Homeless. 1,142 adult single beds and 206 family units were unoccupied that night.
The Department of Homeless Services declined to comment on whether it reserved beds for non-migrants and how it chooses which people to lodge or refer to other services.
The Alarm Over Record-High Migrant's Arrival
According to the coalition's data, 1,174 beds sat vacant on Sunday, 1,169 on Monday, 1,142 on Tuesday, and 1,198 on Wednesday while Adams raised the alarm over record-high migrant arrivals. Units intended for adult families or families with children have also remained vacant: According to the group, 125 were unoccupied on Sunday, 154 on Monday, 206 on Tuesday, and 219 on Wednesday.
While this was going on, local officials covertly opened new respite facilities for refugees in an old school, a church, and a judo gym, some of which lacked showers.
The Official DHS Intake Guidelines For Migrants
Shelly Nortz (deputy executive director for policy with Coalition for the Homeless) claimed that the coalition had not received full data on migrant homeless people from the city. All of the city's shelter locations have not given the group admission.
Employees are directed to direct immigrants to the city's temporary sites, known as HERRCs, "if possible," as per the official DHS intake guideline for migrants issued in March.
According to Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor for health and human services, the city has kept migrant sites distinct "because there was some conflict at the beginning."