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New law could end shelter stay limits for migrants in New York City

Emotional testimony at hearing to end NYC shelter stay rules
Emotional testimony at hearing to end NYC shelter stay rules 02:11

NEW YORK -- Demonstrators rallied Friday in Lower Manhattan to support changing a policy that limits how long migrants can stay at shelters. 

The New York City Council is looking into repealing the policy, which limits stays for newly arrived migrants to 30 or 60 days. 

Immigration advocates, faith leaders and city leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall on Friday morning. 

"In recent months, the Adams administration has forced asylum seekers to leave their shelter placements after 30 days for single adults and 60 days for families with children. That ain't right!" said Council Member Shahana Hanif. 

"The 30 and 60-day shelter eviction rules are some of the cruelest policy to come out of this building in generations," said Comptroller Brad Lander. 

In July, the city imposed a 60-day limit on stays at city shelters. In September, it was lowered to 30 days for single adults. 

"We have proof that this system is not working," said advocate Power Malu. 

Earlier in the week, Hanif introduced a bill that would end shelter stay limits, prohibiting caps on stays for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, including asylum seekers. 

"All New Yorkers, no matter when they arrive, deserve equity, not harm," said Hanif. "What's happening to children is particularly inhumane." 

"A shelter system in New York City was created to stabilize people, to help them on their journey. This rule does exactly the opposite," said Council Member Alexa Aviles, chair of the Immigration Committee. 

A public hearing on the legislation was held after the rally. 

"This system has allowed more than 115,000 migrants who were once in our care to take that next step and our 30-and-60-day notices is one tool in our extremely limited toolbox to help people do so," said Kayla Mamelak, a spokesperson for the mayor's office. 

It comes after dozens of migrant men were found living in hazardous conditions in Queens and the Bronx this week. The man housing them told CBS New York he was trying to help because they had nowhere else to go

"You have folks that are living in a furniture store, 70 people, fire hazard. God forbid something happens there. We shouldn't wait until tragedy occurs," said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. 

"We now have seen people living in the worst conditions possible," said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. 

City leaders said they want to see accurate numbers and reporting to see if the shelter stay limit is working and where the migrants are going after. 

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