A decades-old consent decree requiring New York City to provide shelter for anyone who applies for it has reached its practical limits, Mayor Eric Adams said in a request that a judge release it from its legal obligation amid an influx of asylum seekers, the New York Times reports. The city asked an administrative judge overseeing the consent decree to allow it to deny shelter to homeless adults and adult families if it “lacks the resources and capacity to establish and maintain sufficient shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter.” Otherwise, Adams said in a written statement, the city is just "being dishonest about this" and is headed for a system collapse.
That system was supposed to cost the city $4.3 billion by next summer, but the mayor's budget director issued a warning that the already-huge price tag might actually fall well short of the cost, the New York Daily News reports. The budget director, Jacques Jiha, issued the warning during an at times contentious City Council hearing in which Democratic members of the chamber blasted Adams’ push to cut funding in next fiscal year’s budget for a variety of social service, education and cultural agencies. Jiha testified that the proposed cuts are justified because of the “fiscal emergency” posed by the city’s migrant crisis. The situation is getting so dire, Jiha said, that the administration is likely to increase its projection for how much the city will shell out on the crisis by July 1, 2024. Jiha did not offer a specific new estimated price tag, but referenced the mayor’s statement Monday that 5,800 migrants arrived last week alone. “If that trend were to continue, God bless us,” Jiha said. “It is hard to fathom that this could be more than $4.3 billion in the next year.” Under the administration’s previous cost estimate, the city will spend $1.4 billion on housing, feeding and providing services for migrants by this July 1. Jiha said the administration remains confident in that projection, adding that $1 billion had already been spent on migrants as of the end of April.