New York City’s public and supportive housing systems have enough openings to accommodate 15,000 people, reports the New York Daily News, quoting Brooklyn Councilman Lincoln Restler. Lestler questioned why Mayor Eric Adams’ administration isn’t doing more to fill those units in the middle of a migrant crisis. The the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) had 3,932 empty units across its system as of the end of last month. More than 2,600 units sat vacant in the city’s supportive housing network, which is meant for homeless New Yorkers with a documented need for social services. Restler argued the administration should focus on moving homeless New Yorkers out of shelters and into empty apartments, creating capacity for migrants in the shelter system.
An Adams spokeswoman suggested Restler is wrong because the mayor’s administration has added thousands of new supportive housing units in the past year and “completed extensive environmental work in NYCHA apartments across the city” under a federal agreement. The spokeswoman said there were already 275,000 families on a waitlist for NYCHA apartments as of January. There are more than 80,000 people in the city’s traditional shelter system, about half of whom are asylum seekers, mostly from Latin America. There are believed to be another nearly 20,000 migrants living in an emergency shelter system set up by Adams’ administration. Restler cited a slowdown under Adams in the time it takes the city to fill vacant apartments.