FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (PIX11) — A migrant family from Colombia, South America, stood huddled on a corner in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Friday night.
Andrea, her husband, and two young children did not want their faces shown on camera. She told PIX11 News she does not know what the future holds for her family.
“It’s been a very difficult experience,” Andrea said through a translator.
Andrea is one of almost 40,000 migrants — and counting — who arrived by bus over the last several months. They are all beneficiaries of New York City’s “right to shelter” or “legal” obligation to house the homeless policies.
But Mayor Eric Adams sounded his most urgent alarm on this growing crisis, calling it unstainable. In a televised interview Friday evening, he asked once again for additional state and federal aid.
“We need help. None of our small or large cities should be experiencing this,” said the mayor.
But it was what the mayor said in a Friday afternoon press release that stunned migrants and their advocates. It is a warning that New York City might violate its legal obligations.
“We are at our breaking point. Based off our projections, we anticipate being unable to continue sheltering arriving asylum seekers on our own,” said Adams.
Ariadna Phillips, of South Bronx Mutual Aid, said additional state or federal aid is not the answer.
“What we need is long-term permanent housing. That needs to be the solution. Instead of these band-aids that are not going to be a solution for anyone,” said Phillips.
The Legal Aid Society also issued a statement, reminding the city of its “right to shelter” obligations.
“Certainly, the costs are gonna continue to grow. But there are ways to solve the problem. The federal government could make people eligible to work. The federal government could help other people move to other parts of the country,” said Legal Aid Staff Attorney Josh Goldfein.
But that is not an option for everyone, including Andrea and her family, which means they could end up relying permanently on New York City’s services.
”I don’t know another place,” said Andrea.