State Representatives, City Council Members, & Immigration Advocates Opposed To Bronx Refugee Camp : Elected Officials & Advocates Stand Firm In Their Call Supporting Humane Housing Options For Newly Arrived Asylum Seekers – English-BanglaNewsUs
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State Representatives, City Council Members, & Immigration Advocates Opposed To Bronx Refugee Camp : Elected Officials & Advocates Stand Firm In Their Call Supporting Humane Housing Options For Newly Arrived Asylum Seekers

Published October 3, 2022
State Representatives, City Council Members, & Immigration Advocates Opposed To Bronx Refugee Camp : Elected Officials & Advocates Stand Firm In Their Call Supporting Humane Housing Options For Newly Arrived Asylum Seekers

New York, NY: September 30, state representatives and city elected officials, alongside housing and immigration advocates, rallied on the steps of City Hall in opposition to Mayor Adams’ planned tent city for newly arrived asylum seekers. The Mayor’s recent announcement of two “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers” has drawn criticism from local elected officials, advocacy organizations, and grassroots groups alike. Many have voiced concerns over the seemingly complex transportation logistics of moving hundreds of people regularly from the Port Authority to Orchard Beach, as well as the possible legal implications of such a site in regards to the State’s Right To Shelter law.
Mock-up pictures of what can only be described as a refugee camp show beds packed closely together in tight quarters in clear violation of guidance for safe shelter.
“Everyone, regardless of where they are from, is guaranteed shelter in New York City. This Mayor may be more comfortable shipping asylum seekers to a parking lot almost an hour away from the Port Authority, but we demand real care and support for those who are coming to our city,” said Immigration
Committee Chair, Council Member Shahana Hanif. “As New York City becomes home to thousands of more asylum seekers, we must guarantee safe, supportive, and humane housing for anyone who needs it. We should be looking at all options, from filling empty hotel rooms to converting convention centers, to ensure our city is meeting this moment. Building a refugee camp in a flood zone is not how we address this crisis.”
In July, Mayor Adams came under fire after families were reported to have slept on the floor of a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) intake room, his administration’s first public violation of the Right To Shelter mandate. Then in September, it was reported that close to 60 men were turned away from the shelter system. These incidents are direct violations. In addition to these failures to comply with the law, the Mayor stated on September 19th that the City should “revisit” its Right to Shelter obligations, and then on September 27th admitted outright that the new proposed Orchard Beach HERRCs would not adhere to the City’s Right To Shelter mandate.
The Mayor’s continued failure to deliver safe and adequate shelter to City residents, and asylum seekers, stems from his dysfunctional management of DHS. Even though the City’s current shelter capacity is 5,000 lower than it was under the peak of 60,000 during Mayor de Blasio’s term, the City is still struggling to place people in beds. The influx of asylum seekers, coupled with this administration’s mismanagement, has created a crisis that this Mayor has been unable to tackle. The planned relief centers are yet another example of the Mayor’s unilateral actions to undermine access to safe and accessible shelter while lowering the bar for acceptable housing to our City’s most vulnerable populations.
“Right to shelter has been a moral right throughout our city’s history and a legal right for over four decades,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “Whether your family has lived here for hundreds of years or just arrived yesterday, every New Yorker is entitled to a safe bed. As we confront the unique challenges of this crisis situation, we must both welcome asylum seekers into our community today and prepare them for tomorrow, and I will keep fighting to ensure everyone has the tools they need for long-term success in our city.”
“Right to Shelter isn’t just about being a humane city that treats its residents with dignity, it is also a key pillar of public safety and public health,”
said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “We must not roll back our commitment to Right to Shelter and accept sprawling tent cities that amount to makeshift refugee camps; instead, we should push even further to guarantee reliable, comfortable housing for all. Housing is a basic human need, it is a basic human right, and if we are to be a city that respects human life — as opposed to an extraction zone for the rich to maximize their windfall profits — we will respect the human rights of our newest neighbors.”
“I am mortified by this administration’s decision to build a tent city in the Bronx to receive migrants, even temporarily,” said Council Member Alexa Avilés.
“At a time like this, we should not be calling Right to Shelter in question or playing games with people’s lives. While the arrival of thousands of asylum seekers adds pressure to systems that were already at a breaking point, the ways we reduce the shelter
population have not changed. We must prevent evictions and rein in out-of-control rent hikes, and we need to get people in shelter into housing first and foremost.”
“New York City has a long history of opening its arms to those in need, and we proudly guarantee a right to shelter – no matter immigration status,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler. “Offering a new New Yorker a cot in a tent on a flooded beach parking lot does not meet our City’s standards and is a misguided approach.”
“Every New Yorker—whether they are new arrivals or not—deserves access to safe housing. Yet the Adams Administration’s solution to our overburdened shelter system is opening a relief camp, in a parking lot prone to flooding, far away from public transportation, schools, and social services,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.
“The plan is being proposed as a temporary stop-gap, but the Administration has provided no information about how people in these “temporary shelters” will be transitioned to more permanent housing, or even our traditional shelter system — setting the stage for these camps to become a permanent source of shame for New York.
We’re calling on the Administration to center the needs of the asylum seekers, bring health, housing, and immigrant rights organizations into the decision-making process, and develop a concrete, written plan that will help our newest New Yorkers integrate and thrive.”
“This is only the newest step in what has been a particularly cruel nine months for homeless New Yorkers,” said Karim Walker, Homeless Organizer and Outreach Worker with the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. “The Adams administration has repeatedly stated that New York City is welcoming asylum-seekers with “open arms,” but this planned City refugee camp is clearly intended to stop people from accessing shelters they have a right to. Instead of support, the City’s “open arms” will realistically
be followed by a shove out the door, after migrants are told to exit the cots that they’ve been assigned on Orchard Beach. Instead of building massive tents in a flood-prone parking lot, the Adams administration should prioritize using every permanent housing resource at its disposal to empty the shelters, massively resource efforts to fight source-of-income discrimination by landlords, immediately open access to City vouchers to migrants, end the 90-day rule that just keeps homeless people without rental vouchers for months as they languish in shelter, and end all bureaucratic obstacles to placements in supportive housing.”
“New York City’s long-standing right to shelter, which is the first and only in the nation, is available to anyone, regardless of when or how they arrived,” said Bill Bryan, Director of The Civil Justice Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services. “The city must honor its obligation to provide full access to shelter for all who need it and ensure this right is not denied or obscured by the creation of a parallel and substandard system.”

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