Legal Aid: NYC Admits More Right-to-Shelter Violations, Fails to Provide Dozens Beds

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Legal Aid Society says New York City officials admitted to more violations of right-to-shelter laws after failing to provide beds to at least 60 single men at a Manhattan intake center on Monday night.

Legal Aid staff attorney Joshua Goldfein says the NYC Department of Homeless Services informed the group, which represents people living in shelters, about the violations in a text message early Tuesday.

The Department of Homeless Services didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The failure to provide beds comes as the city's shelter system is experiencing a surge of thousands of migrants coming from border states to New York City. It's one of the few municipalities with right-to-shelter laws, guaranteeing that anyone who presents to a designated intake center by a set time must be placed in a shelter on the same day.

According to city data provided Tuesday to News 4 New York by the Legal Aid Society, there are 669 vacant units in the single adult men shelter system. However, News 4 could not independently verify the accuracy of this data.

Additional violations in the shelter system for families with children were exposed by NBC New York back in July.  

Mayor Eric Adams for weeks has promised to give shelter and support to every migrant family being bused to NYC from Texas — but the I-Team has learned some families seeking asylum are being told they're not eligible. NBC New York's Melissa Russo reports.

Migrant Crisis

Asylum seekers are being sent to New York City with hopes of a new, better life — but finding obstacle after obstacle instead.

Mayor Eric Adams to talk with migrants in Central America

‘NYC cannot help you': City passing out flyers to migrants to discourage more arrivals

In a statement, Legal Aid threatened to sue if the issues are not resolved. 

"We are extremely alarmed by the frequency of these violations under this administration," the statement said. "Any New Yorker including an individual seeking asylum is legally entitled to placement in a safe and decent shelter." 

The city has previously admitted that on two nights in July, five families were not properly sheltered after presenting to the PATH intake center in the Bronx. Even that admission has become a source of controversy over who knew about the violations and when, and whether there was any attempt to cover them up.

The city's Department of Investigation is probing that question now.

But the new, and more recent violations, involve single individuals turning up at the 30th Street Intake Shelter in Manhattan, sources said.

Hundreds of asylum seekers are now coming to New York City every week, transported from Texas on buses dispatched by that state's governor amid a political dispute with the Biden Administration.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has said those migrants would be welcomed with open arms, but he has also called on the federal government to provide more financial assistance to the city to bear the cost.

In a statement to News 4 New York, the city's Department of Social Services does not admit nor deny recent violations of the law, simply saying:

“As part of our efforts to address the unprecedented need for shelter services, we have already provided shelter to thousands of recently arrived-asylum seekers, including hundreds yesterday alone, and we continue to open emergency sites citywide. We also continue to maintain open lines of communication and work in good faith with our stakeholders, including advocates, and welcome their input to find ways to support the vital work we are doing despite unprecedented challenges. Our teams remain committed to working around the clock while quickly adapting to the reality on the ground and identifying additional capacity to make sure that we are providing supports to anyone in need of shelter services regardless of background and immigration status.”

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us