New Yorkers rally for Right to Shelter as governor backs stripping asylum seeker protections

New York, New York - Demonstrators gathered outside New York Governor Kathy Hochul's Manhattan office on Wednesday to protest her support for removing NYC's Right to Shelter protections for migrants.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has officially backed efforts to strip housing protections from asylum seekers in NYC.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has officially backed efforts to strip housing protections from asylum seekers in NYC.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

"What do we want? Fair housing! When do we want it? Now!" demonstrators shouted as they waved signs calling for protections against homelessness.

The protest outside Hochul's office came after she officially sided with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in his efforts to roll back the Right to Shelter rule, which requires the city to provide emergency housing to anyone who asks for it.

"The city entered into the consent decree over 40 years ago. The parties to the consent decree could not have contemplated that the city would experience the influx of so many migrants in such a short period of time," Faith Gay, an attorney for the governor's office, wrote in a Manhattan Supreme Court filing on Wednesday.

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"Despite unprecedented resources deployed by the City and the State to assist the newly arrived migrants, the current situation is not sustainable," Gay claimed.

New Yorkers rally for Right to Shelter outside Kathy Hochul's office

Protesters rally in support of New York City's Right to Shelter rule amid threats from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
Protesters rally in support of New York City's Right to Shelter rule amid threats from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul.  © Screenshot/Twitter/VOCALNewYork

Adams has been seeking an exemption from the mandatory housing regulation for asylum seekers as people continue arriving in New York City by the thousands, seeking safety and respite from dangerous and untenable living conditions in their countries of origin.

But fair housing advocates have warned that apart from denying asylum seekers a basic human right, Adams and Hochul's proposal would strip protections from all people experiencing homelessness regardless of legal status.

"Make no mistake: if the Mayor and Governor get their way, they will be closing the door of the shelter system to thousands of people without homes, leaving them nowhere to sleep but the streets. That is their plan. And that is exactly the inhumane and unacceptable outcome that New Yorkers reject, and that the Right to Shelter was meant to prevent," Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, said in a press release.

Immigrants' rights activists have pointed out that in New York City, the financial capital of the world, there are enough resources to go around. They are just in the hands of the wealthy few.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Twitter/VOCALNewYork

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