STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — A judge on Staten Island has declared that New York’s right-to-shelter law is only for New Yorkers.
This could have massive implications for the costly migrant crisis the city is currently experiencing.
Scott Herkert lives right next to the former Saint John Villa Academy turned emergency migrant shelter the city has built showers for the shelter right against his backyard.
He has been at the center of the neighborhood pushback against placing migrants here across from a school, which may now become a bigger battle.
“I knew from the beginning this was a checkers game, not a chess game,” Herkert said.
In his ruling ordering migrants out of St. John Villa, Staten Island Judge Wayne Ozzie wrote that a guarantee of a bed to anyone who shows up to a city shelter was never meant to be applied to migrants it was only: “to provide housing for unfortunate New Yorkers who needed shelter…”
“Our argument is that it did not envision homeless from China and Korea and Venezuela,” said Herkert’s attorney. “It meant the people in the City of New York.”
“It was never meant to accommodate a group that could fill to Yankee Stadium twice, or 1/5 the population of Staten Island, and will as we said last year be unsustainable,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella.
The judge also questioned whether Mayor Eric Adams truly has the emergency powers to be housing and feeding ten thousand migrants coming each month.
Suggesting the mayor invited the emergency by offering these services.
The mayor and governor have openly questioned in recent months if indeed the right to shelter should apply to newly arrived migrants.
But City Hall says it will appeal this ruling out of concern might land families with children sleeping on the street.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis cheered the judge’s ruling and said this should be a turning point in the migrant crisis.
“So, this is a true test right now to see where the mayor stands,” she said.
“Is he going to stand with a hard-working, taxpaying citizens of New York or stand with citizens of under countries, 120,000, who have come to New York, demanding free housing.”