NEW YORK: The crowds exterior the Roosevelt Lodge in midtown Manhattan this week would have been acquainted in any variety of US cities struggling to comprise a disaster of homelessness: dozens of individuals languishing on sidewalks, tenting out on flattened cardboard bins day and night time. However for New York Metropolis, the scene – made up of migrants ready for beds within the metropolis’s overburdened shelter system – was uncommon. And it raised a tough query: Will this turn out to be a brand new regular?

New York has prevented the sorts of widespread encampments which are extra frequent in cities on the West Coast, largely due to a novel authorized settlement that requires the town to supply a mattress for anybody who requests one. No different main metropolis within the US has an identical mandate, generally known as a “right to shelter”. However what occurs when a metropolis that’s obligated to supply shelter for everybody runs out of shelter? This week, Mayor Eric Adams declared, in dire phrases, that there was no extra room left for migrants. His administration was arising with a plan, Adams stated, in order that “we don’t have what’s in other municipalities where you have tent cities all over the city”, evoking photos of homeless camps in locations corresponding to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle on the streets of New York. “We need help,” Adams stated. “And it’s not going to get any better.” Already, New York is dwelling to 1000’s of people who find themselves thought-about “unsheltered”, that means they sleep on the streets or within the subways as a substitute of choosing a shelter mattress. However the overwhelming majority of New York’s homeless inhabitants sleeps in shelters. New York’s harsh winters additionally make large-scale out of doors encampments much less possible.
Town is struggling beneath the load of almost 1,00,000 migrants who’ve arrived since final yr. Greater than 56,000 migrants nonetheless stay in New York Metropolis’s shelters. And the tempo has not slowed. Final week alone, 2,300 new migrants arrived. New York Metropolis has opened 194 websites to accommodate the newcomers – together with lodge ballrooms, parking heaps, former jails and an airport warehouse. Town’s homeless shelter inhabitants now exceeds 1,00,000 folks, a file excessive. “We are at the desperation stage,” stated Mark Levine, the Manhattan borough president. On Wednesday, deputy mayor Anne Williams-Isom stated the town has been a “guardian of the right to shelter”, however the system was buckling beneath strain. In response to questions on potential websites for sheltering migrants, together with Central Park, she stated all choices had been on the desk. For now, New York is taking steps to attempt to deter migrants from coming, together with by distributing flyers on the southern border telling them that they won’t be assured companies if they arrive to the town.