New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday floated a plan to allow residents to house migrants in spare rooms as they are bused into the city from states like Texas.
New York City, the only major U.S. city with a “right to shelter” law, has been struggling in recent months to find housing for the influx of asylum-seeking migrants it has received. The issue has been exacerbated by Republican-led states like Texas, which have transported many migrants coming over the border from Mexico north to New York and other Democrat-led areas. There has also been an expectation among officials that the end of Title 42 would lead to a greater surge of migrants, though the actual numbers have not borne out this worry.
On Monday, Adams, the Democrat mayor of New York City since 2022, announced a two-year partnership with the New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) group which will see 50 houses of worship across the city’s five boroughs, including churches and mosques, open their doors to house asylum-seekers. It is currently estimated that the plan will house around 1,000 migrants, with the possibility of expansion down the line.
“No matter what faith you practice, caring for those in need is part of every spiritual tradition,” Adams said. “As we continue to tackle this humanitarian crisis, I’m proud that through this new partnership with New York Disaster Interfaith Services, New York City’s faith community will be able to provide shelter to asylum seekers in need at houses of worship throughout the five boroughs.”
At the press conference where the plan was announced, Adams also said that the city’s next step will be allowing its residents and landlords to voluntarily offer their spare rooms to house migrants, for which they would receive payment.
“It is my vision to take the next step to this, go to the faith-based locales and then move to private residence,” Adams said. “We can take that $4.2 billion — $4.3 [billion] maybe now — that we potentially have to spend and we can put it back in the pockets of everyday New Yorkers, everyday houses of worship, instead of putting it in the pockets of corporations, and some of those corporations are coming from outside our city.”
Adams also mentioned during the address that the private residence plan would require overcoming a “30-day rule” in place by the city government but did not elaborate on the rule that he referred to. Newsweek reached out to the mayor’s office via email for clarification.
In New York City, there are a handful of rules that Mayor Adams could have meant. One rule prevents property owners or tenants from renting out their entire apartment or home to a guest for less than 30 days. Another rule blocks landlords from preventing their tenants from having guests as long as the guests stay less than 30 days.