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  • Cots, food scarcity and constant confusion: the toll of New York’s migrant shelter evictions

    Mar 23, 2024

    Olga Loginova/The Guardian

    The Guardian – New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, has framed the city’s shelter-eviction policy as a tool to direct human traffic in the strained, overflowing shelter system. First announced in October 2023, it encourages the families to look for alternative housing after they get served 60-day notices. The Reyeses were one of the roughly 9,100 families with children staying in the city’s 17 Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs), who received eviction notices between October 2023 and February 2024. (The situation is even more dire for single people without children, who, starting September 2023, had to re-apply for shelter every 30 days. On 15 March, the city limited the 30-day shelter stays even further. From now on, single adults won’t be able to re-apply for extended stays unless they can present extenuating circumstances.)

    But the Guardian spoke to several non-profits and human rights organizations that say the reality is completely different. From interviews with the Legal Aid Society, the New York Immigration Coalition, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Project Rousseau, and Advocates for Children of New York, what emerged was a picture of a systematic eviction practice that many are calling unfair, unnecessary and a tool to deter people from coming to New York.

    “The mayor has consistently said that he’s rolling out this new [shelter eviction] policy, but it won’t impact their ability to go to school,” said Jennifer Pringle, the director of Project Lit – Learners in Temporary Housing at Advocates for Children of New York. In reality, The Guardian learned, some families are sent so far away from their original placements, their kids have to switch schools midyear. “If you’re placed over an hour away in a new hotel for 28 days or another 60 days,” said Pringle, “it is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to regularly get your kid to school.”