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Roughly 1,500 Migrants Have Tried to Get Back in NYC Shelter System After Being Removed

Three male migrants arrive at Randall's Island Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center in a city passenger van Thursday, October 20, 2022 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams)

A Legal Aid Society lawyer said this means the policy isn’t working

About 1,500 migrants removed from shelters under a new city policy have reapplied to stay in the city’s care after failing to find housing on their own, according to data provided by City Hall.

The data marks the first time Mayor Adams’ administration has shared details on the impact of the policy, which was implemented in July in the hopes of lightening the burden on the city’s overwhelmed shelter system.

Under the first version of the rule, single adult migrants in city shelters were handed notices informing them they could only stay for another 60 days in their current placement. If they could not secure their own housing in that time, they were informed they could return to the city’s Roosevelt Hotel asylum seeker arrival center to reapply for a shelter bed, with no guarantee of immediately getting one. Since the policy took effect, 3,025 60-day notices have come due, according to the fresh data shared with the Daily News on Friday.

This past Tuesday, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said “about like less than 50%” of migrants in receipt of 60-day notices have returned to the Roosevelt to reapply for shelter. The exact number of affected migrants wasn’t immediately clear.

But based on the newly released data, the number of migrants who have reapplied for shelter is in the range of 1,500.

Williams-Isom said Tuesday that the data signals the 60-day policy is having its intended effect since the migrants who did not return to reapply for shelter are presumed to have found their own housing.

“We know that many of them were leaving on their own,” she said.

It’s unclear where the migrants who didn’t need to reapply for shelter so far have gone. Adams spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak said the city doesn’t track that, but told The News many are believed to have found housing with family and friends or moved to other states.

Legal Aid Society lawyer Josh Goldfein, who’s fighting the Adams administration’s attempt to suspend the city’s right to shelter in court, disagreed with Williams-Isom’s assessment and said the trend signaled by the data is troubling.

The data suggest thousands more migrants currently in city shelters are going to return to the Roosevelt in coming weeks as more 60-day notices start coming due, Goldfein explained.

“It really doesn’t make any sense for them to come back to the Roosevelt where [the administration is] already having trouble processing the new people that are coming in,” he said, referring to the hundreds of new migrants who are arriving in the city every week.

“It would make more sense to step up real case management and help people move out on whatever timeline is appropriate for them rather than arbitrarily telling people they need to come back [to the Roosevelt] on a specific day,” Goldfein added.

According to Adams’ office, a total of 13,500 60-day notices had been handed out to migrants as of Oct. 9. And more notices are coming due every day.

Last month, Adams cut down the number of days single adult migrants can stay in shelters from 60 to 30 days. As of Oct. 9, 4,026 30-day notices had been handed out, according to Adams’ office.

As first reported by The News last week, the Adams administration is also about to place 60-day shelter stay limits on migrant families with children, a category that had previously been exempt from any time restrictions.

The mayor has argued he needs to implement the drastic restrictions to make space in the city’s overcrowded shelter system amid a seemingly never-ending influx of new migrants. According to the latest data from Adams’ office, about 64,000 migrants are still in city shelters.

Source: NewYork Daily News