New York City Mayor Eric Adams has utilized his executive authority to abolish a contentious 90-day stay rule in shelters, hoping to accelerate the transition of the homeless population into permanent housing accommodations and make space for migrants in municipal facilities.
The previous regulation necessitated a three-month stay in NYC shelters for homeless individuals before they were eligible for housing vouchers. The rule’s removal may alleviate pressures on the city’s strained homeless shelter system and assist in accommodating the continued influx of asylum-seeking migrants.
Speaking at a City Hall press conference on Friday, June 16th, Adams stated the decision would expedite the move of more individuals into permanent housing without adding extra burdens on taxpayers. Under the emergency regulation, individuals and families housed in shelters can instantly have access to the city-funded rental assistance, known as the City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) housing vouchers.
At the press conference, Adams said, “Today, we’re taking our efforts to house more New Yorkers to the next level — building on our work expanding voucher eligibility, cutting red tape, and reducing bureaucracy that we’ve focused on since day one.” He continued, “By removing the 90-day length of stay requirement for our CityFHEPS rental assistance program for individuals and families in shelter, we’ll help more people exit shelter for permanent housing faster.”
Acting Department of Social Services Commissioner Molly Wasow Park affirmed that removing the 90-day rule would provide much-needed space in an overburdened system. “Since day one, this administration has worked to eliminate barriers to permanent housing and expand access to city-funded rental assistance for New Yorkers in shelter…. With this emergency rule change, we will build on the progress we are already making, moving more New Yorkers from shelter to permanent housing, while freeing up much-needed capacity within the DHS shelter system to ensure that we are effectively continuing to provide shelter to asylum seekers in need.” Park said.
With the city grappling with a burgeoning asylum-seeking crisis, Mayor Adams emphasized the need for cost-effective housing solutions for migrants. The mayor said, “We’re still trying to find partners, we’re still trying to get the funding. And we have to find a cheaper way to do this because it’s just not sustainable.”
Adams said the city is evaluating short-term housing options to accommodate the influx of migrants and asylum seekers until more permanent solutions can be implemented.
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Anne Williams-Isom, stated that the announced changes would enhance the efficiency of delivering essential services and housing support to families and individuals.
As per the latest data from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), 80,613 people, including 53,643 adults and 26,970 children, are currently housed in New York City’s taxpayer-funded shelter system. The city’s 169 emergency shelters are housing approximately 48,100 asylum seekers.
The 90-day stay rule was part of a package of four bills recently passed by the city council. Although Mayor Adams has expressed disapproval of the other bills, sources speculate he used his executive power to abolish the 90-day rule to enable him to veto the other controversial bills.