New York City Comptroller Brad Lander released a report that showed it was financially unsustainable for the city to continue approaching the migrant crisis in the manner it was. By combining the spending of the current fiscal year and the expenditure projected for the next, the city will spend more than $4 billion on catering to asylum-seeking migrants.
Comptroller Lander’s suggestion was that the city focuses on helping the asylum-seeking migrants move out of city shelters and become self-sustaining. “The city must shift its focus to helping those in shelter,” including homeless New Yorkers who aren’t migrants, “to get out of shelter,” the report says.
“We haven’t yet spent enough time focused on how do we help people get out of those hotels – into jobs, into permanent housing,” Comptroller Lander said. “Both individually and collectively, folks have been so focused on meeting those emergency needs that it has been hard to see further downstream.”
Lander’s office called on the city to direct $70 million towards the catering of services that would cut the city’s financial expenditure on migrants. To reduce migrants’ dependence on the city, Comptroller Lander called on the city to expedite the work permit application process.
Lander also suggested the implementation of a long-term housing plan for the asylum-seeking migrants that settle in New York City. An expansion of the city’s rent subsidy program to cater to migrants is one of the comptroller’s suggestions. Comptroller Lander called on the city to make use of the thousands of vacant rent-stabilized units.
These housing reforms would not only apply to migrants, but to the homeless of New York City too.
New York City caters to over 30,000 migrants. According to the Office of Emergency Management, the city spends an average of $363 per day on asylum-seeking migrant households. The city fulfilled its obligations of providing shelter to residents but it has proved to be a financially demanding endeavor. “The city is at the end of its resources. This is not sustainable,” Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management Zach Iscol said at a City Council hearing. “It’s why we have asked the state, it’s why we’ve asked the federal government for support.”
The current preliminary budget for New York City’s fiscal year that begins June 1st has $1 billion dollars allocated to migrant aid. The remaining $3 billion that Comptroller Lander has said the city will need to spend on migrants is expected – by the city – to be covered by federal aid.