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New York. Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability – Video

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy, and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. We appreciate everyone joining us today for our weekly in‑person media availability.

Normally these forums take place on Tuesdays, but tomorrow the mayor will be traveling to Albany to attend Governor Hochul’s State of the State Address; so, in order to give all of you a chance to ask questions and for us to address timely issues, we felt it was important to reschedule this availability for today. We appreciate your flexibility and look forward to discussing the issues that are top of mind for working class New Yorkers.

Joining us this morning we have New York City Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph‑Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres‑Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams‑Isom, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol, and New York City Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health, Dr. Ted Long.

So, without further delay, I’m pleased to turn it over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks. Thanks so much, Fabien. And really thank the entire team, in general but specifically, Zach, Commissioner Iscol, and the Department of Sanitation commissioner, Commissioner Tisch, and the entire crew.

We were predicting heavy weather impact over the weekend; and Zach, between managing these emergencies as well as throughout the night of communicating with him whenever we have an incident in any of our HERRCs he’s just really on top of it. You know, that military experience really shows each time we have some form of emergency that’s taking place in the city.

Starting last Friday, we had crews from city agencies and utilities prepositioned in addressing snow and rain. New York City Emergency Management had additional crews monitoring and coordinating the city’s response to the snow, with workers on standby in case the weather got worse. Fortunately for us, we were able to avoid some of the most severe weather that hit this region.

The Department of Sanitation issued a snow alert, and with 700 salt spreaders, salted every street in New York City on Saturday night and they fully completed garbage pickup on Saturday. We also had emergency crews and staff from a wide range of agencies: Department of Buildings, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Department of Transportation, NYPD, FDNY and Department of Social Services.

The teams were prepared to respond to building emergencies, deal with our homeless outreach and provide shelter and deal with traffic related and towing issues.

Beginning tomorrow afternoon, into Wednesday, we are facing heavy rainfall and gusty winds, with the potential of flooding in some areas. We’re issuing a travel advisory beginning tomorrow night and we have activated the city’s flash flood emergency plan.

We are also conducting coordination and preparation calls that were already underway for last weekend’s snow. City agencies and utility companies are on regular consultation calls with NYCEM and the National Weather Service to stage personnel ahead of the bad weather and prepare for the storm’s aftermath, whether that means rescues, highway and street traffic closures and detours dealing with downed trees.

But as always, we really want to encourage people to sign up for Notify NYC at nyc.gov/notify to get the latest contingency plan. And Zach is here to answer any questions that you may have around the upcoming inclement weather that we are expecting. Fabien.

Deputy Mayor Levy: All right. We’ll take some off topic questions. 

Question: Yes. Good afternoon, everyone. Mr. Mayor, tomorrow the 60‑day rule takes effect for families. Where are people going to go? Do you have a contingency plan for that? And being that Commissioner Iscol is here, are there any plans to build HERRCs to house people?

Deputy Mayor Levy: Julia, I’ll let Dr. Long go first, because he’ll explain what’s going to actually happen, that’s why he’s here today.

Dr. Ted Long, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals: So, just to say, thank you for the question. So, to go back a little bit, let me walk you through the experience of a family with children staying at the Row right now. They’ll be checking out tomorrow from the Row Hotel. It’s the only site where people are going to be checking out tomorrow.

There’s approximately 40 families with children still at the Row Hotel that will be checking out tomorrow. Their experience so far is when they first received their 60‑day notice, we set up an immediate meeting with case management. On average, each adult from each household has had more than four meetings with our exit planning team where we go over, do you have friends and family in New York City or somewhere else? Can we call your sister in Queens or your brother in Chicago? Buy you a ticket to go there, if that’s what it would take to help you to complete your journey.

Are you trying to find a job? Do you need OSHA training? We can make that connection for you. Do you have a specific type of legal help that you need assistance with that you haven’t been able to surmount, whether it’s Temporary Protected Status applications, whether it’s work authorization applications, of which we’ve, through our Application Assistance Help Center, completed well over 20,000 applications for asylum seekers in our city.

So, we take that process with each family with children, and so far, some have left and some are still with us. So, this weekend, for those that are still with us, we met with them again. We wrote down and designated in our computer system each of the schools that each of their children are in; and then going forward, when they are going to check out tomorrow, the families are going to come to the arrival center.

They’re able to have their children go to school that day to have uninterrupted school access for their kids. And then we’re going to prioritize placing families with children— especially those with children that are in elementary school— in Manhattan, preferably in a hotel near to where the children are currently in school.

And then going forward we’re going to maintain that process for prioritizing kids that are in elementary school for being able to have uninterrupted school access in the current school where they are in.

Question: Do you have any designated rooms? Do you have them?

Dr. Long: Yes. So, we have a plan in place behind the scenes in the arrival center to enable us to prioritize, again, families with children that have kids in elementary school tomorrow and going forward.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams‑Isom, Health and Human Services: I just want to remind everybody with, you asked about additional HERRCs. With 216 HERRCs sites and 18 HERRCs already, I think, Julia, the solution to this is not just building more.

We’re running out of space, we’re running out of personnel and we certainly are running out of funds, and so we really have to move from an emergency to managing this in the way that makes sense. And so now with 164,000 migrants coming here— almost 70,000 that are still here— we want to do what our sister cities are doing.

So, Chicago, Denver and the State of Massachusetts have used time limits as a tool in order to help get people to move on their journey. So, that is what we’re doing and that’s why it also becomes very important that we work with our state partners to resettle young people. Children need stability, 100 percent. Children need someplace to be. A hotel room is not a great place to grow up, so being able to really connect people to those resources and get them resettled is what our goal is.

Question: [Do] you have Row Hotel families settled now in a future place? Do you have all of that settled?

Dr. Long: We have a plan for it that we’re going to…

Question: What does that mean…


Dr. Long: …activate tomorrow. And it just, and can I just make one more comment, because it’s…

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Yes. The answer is, yes, we are going to resettle, as people need to reapply they will reapply. The mayor has said one thing to us: he does not want families and children on the street.

Mayor Adams: And I’ve said that over and over again. And I think that anyone who believes that this administration will create an environment where children and families will sleep on the street, they were not hearing our message over and over again. This is not going to be a city where we’re going to place children and families on the street and have them sleep on the street. That is not going to happen. We’ve made that clear. I think we made it clear to the point that everyone should understand that.

But I do know this also. When you do an evaluation of opportunities for children, if a child grows up in a homelessness shelter or homeless they’re less likely to graduate from high school. If you don’t educate, you will incarcerate. These decisions we’re making is finding stability for families. Having someone grow up in a hotel room living out of a suitcase for years, it’s just not the right thing to do.

And we’re doing it in a very humane way. Both the H+H and Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom, we understand the sensitivity of this and we’re going to make sure we treat these families with the respect they deserve. But we have to stabilize these families. If we were able to close the front door, we would be in a different place.

57 percent of those who have come through our system, we’ve been able to normalize and stabilize. The problem is as fast as we’re able to stabilize families that come into our front door. That is what we’re faced with. And we need everyone to join us in getting the resources, being clear on the destabilization plan, being clear on the national government fixing this problem and giving us the funding.

That is the chorus that all of us should be singing. And I’m really pleased that we have now brought in our coalition. We’re learning from our partners in Denver and Chicago, we’re learning on what they’re doing in Massachusetts. There’s just a different place on what we were last year when it felt as though we were the only ones that were saying it. Now others are standing up and realizing that what the city has done has been extremely humane, but this is not sustainable.


Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Me? Well, I wanted to say, the mayor said his message has been consistent, but in addition to his message, there is no evidence that we have ever done anything but treat families and children with the utmost care and with the utmost sensitivity. I just want to be clear about that.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I’m doing well. Happy holidays.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Question: It sounds like you have a well‑thought out plan for what happens tomorrow but are also communicating we may not have the bandwidth to do this in the future because of capacity. Does the border need to close to stop people from coming?

Mayor Adams: Well, I’ve been very clear on the points based on my observations from going to El Paso, to my observation of going down to the Darién Gap. What needs to be done is we need a resolution at the border, and our national leaders must come up with that resolution. And while they’re doing so, you cannot displace the financial responsibility on to the cities, and that includes Brownsville, El Paso, Denver, New York, Chicago, Boston.

We have a responsibility to make sure that we cannot only take care of long‑term residents of our cities but also treat those who arrive here in a humane way. This is bad for the migrants and asylum seekers and it’s bad for the city.

And so how they resolve that, is coming up with real immigration reform and allocating in the budget the financial needs that these cities need and having a decompression strategy to address this issue. And so I think that the White House and Congress, they must get together and realize that this is impacting America’s largest cities.

Question: Hi, Mayor Adams. To whoever can provide this information, is there data, I know you said it’s 40 families leaving tomorrow, but we reported that it’s 250 families staying there right now.

So, do you have broad data on how many families are set to have their 60‑day notices expire per day and per week, and does City Hall have any data on how many families have already moved out ahead of the deadline versus families who will have to reapply?

Dr. Long: So, we can get back to you with some of the specific data points, but just to make a couple of points from your good question there.

So, I think one of the ways that I look at it is that since we started to have, since the crisis began, we in New York City have helped more than 164,000 people that have entered our shelter system; and as the mayor said, nearly 60 percent of them with our help have been able to leave the shelter system, taking the next step forward in their journeys.

And this year it’s important to me—  because I talk to them as they’re leaving— each one has their own story and each one of those, 60 percent, is going to celebrate their birthday in their new apartment or in the safety and security of being with friends and family this year that they haven’t been able to experience for years.

So, the reason I’m very confident in our case management strategy is I don’t know… So, I don’t think about it in terms of will it work, I think about it in terms of, it’s already worked for the tens of thousands of people that have left our system with our help.

We’re applying all of those same principles that we’ve learned, the 80,000 times since we’ve been doing this, successfully to the families with children as we’ve been giving them notices at the Row Hotel.

So, when I say we’ve had more than four meetings with each family with children that are going to be checking out tomorrow, it’s not four meetings where we’re sort of feeling out exactly what we should be talking about, things like that. It’s four meetings drawing from everything that we’ve done successfully for the tens of thousands of people that with our help have been able to start a better life in our country.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: And Katie, what we’ll do— like we always do— is we do a policy we’ll come back in a couple weeks and let you know what we’re finding and what we’re learning and then we’ll make adjustments as we need to. But we will come back and share more data with you.

Mayor Adams: And Katie… Hold on, one moment. Hold on. Because what Dr. Long said is very important. You know, people have analyzed what we have done. While national leaders have commended us, people have toured our sites and locations, they have commended the level of humanitarian actions we show. We put in place the 30‑day plan for single adults and now we’re doing it for the children and families, the 60‑day for children and families.

And as Dr. Long stated, close to 70 percent of the people that came in we’ve stabilized. We are able to accomplish that without children and families sleeping on the street.

And so the track record of the success of taking this humanitarian, national humanitarian crisis and not having people sleep on the streets and not having children and families on the street but doing it in a way that we are stabilizing almost 70 percent is clearly, the track record shows that we’ve taken a crisis and thoughtfully thought through it.

And that is what, you know, I think is missing in this entire conversation. There’s nothing by our actions that has ever indicated that we were going to put individuals in harm’s way. There’s no action in over a year that displayed that. There’s nothing we’ve ever done that created an environment that we were going to destabilize families. Thank you, Fabien, it was close to 60 percent, but close to 60 percent.

And just when you look at the track record, you have to say to yourself, we have created a model that the national government should be following. We lived up to what is expected of New Yorkers, being humane and stabilizing children and families. And again, if we could just close the front door, we could get through this, but we can’t close the front door.

Deputy Mayor Levy: One other thing I want to flag is that Ted was talking about 164,000. Because we’re doing this a day early, we don’t have the last week’s numbers yet, so that’s as of two weeks ago, as of December 31st, the 164. So, we’ll have new numbers tomorrow for anyone who asks.

Question: Okay. Good morning. Happy New Year to everyone. Two quick questions, one follow‑up for Dr. Long. Even though we’re still waiting for the specific metrics, can you still give us a more detailed look as to what’s going to happen tomorrow?

I think what the big question is and what really needs to be clarified, is there going to be an interruption in housing? So, you’ve had four meetings; after these four meetings, will there be an interruption in housing? And even broadly, how many people or families might this affect?

And then secondly, for Mayor Adams, can you touch on the amended bus ordinance and now the migrants being dropped off in New Jersey and outlying cities and what those discussions have been and how many cities you’ve heard from, please.

Dr. Long: Yes. I can start, and thanks for the question. So, maybe what I could do is go into a little bit more detail about the process that a family will experience tomorrow. And again, just to quickly rewind leading into it, because this past weekend we had a very concerted effort to talk to every family one more time to document what school your children are in, make an initial plan with you if you needed to come back to the arrival center.

To zoom out for one more moment, the reason the 60 days matters to us on the city side, it’s not just in the amount of time that we’re giving to a family before we might have to have them move out of one site or to a different site, the 60 days is a deadline that we give to all of ourselves. That’s the time we have to figure out what your barriers are to help you to complete the next step of your journey.

Nobody wants to live in a hotel room, but what we’ve learned, as the mayor said, when we’ve helped more than 90,000 people to be able to take their next step forward, 90,000 people with our help are going to celebrate their birthdays in their new apartment or with friends and family this year, it’s because how we’ve been able to help them.

And going forward what you can look for and expect from us is identifying more and more ways that we can help people, families with children, to be able to take the next step forward from the Row Hotel tomorrow or from other hotels going forward.

But for those that need to stay in our city system, as you were saying, to avoid destabilizing housing for them, things like that, the mechanics will be at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow will be checkout.

So, this won’t be a surprise to any families with children. We’ve met with you already more than four times, and we’ve noted what school your children are in, and we’ve talked to you about the options, and DOE has met with you as well. DOE, by the way, will be at the arrival center to further coordinate to make sure that every child has a safe, comfortable, clear plan.

10:00 a.m., before that, you may have had your child get on the regular school bus, but you, the parents, will go to the arrival center. You’ll bring your luggage with you. We’ll store it with you at the arrival center.
When you come into the arrival center, you’re even going to get a different color wristband so that we know you’re coming back, we know who you are. We bring up on the computer system, oh, we’ve had these conversations with you. These are your barriers. Can we help you to solve anything today?

Or, if your child is in elementary school, you’re the highest priority for us to immediately and quickly give you another placement in Manhattan, preferably close to where your child is in school. So, that process will be, you’ll come into the arrival center, store your luggage, receive your next assignments and then you’ll go on to next assignment there.

If your child’s in school during the day, again, we’ll work with you to pick up your child, and DOE is on site to make coordination in terms of new bus routes or even MetroCards for you and your children to make sure that school is uninterrupted as well. Happy to go into more detail. I hope that’s a little helpful to go into more detail.

Question: It is. I just think that, so there was a rally, obviously, this morning at Foley Square. There’s an understanding or a perception that families will be on the street and perhaps even a process of checking out at 10:00 a.m. and then checking back in is destabilizing.

So, if you could address that and just, you know, how many families have you already placed permanently and how many will have to go back into the system. So, I know you don’t have those metrics right now, but I just want to make sure that it’s clarified because of the perception is that they will still be out of a place from 10:00 a.m. while their kids are in school.

Dr. Long Yes. Can I start, and then we’ll turn to…

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Yes. But I just want to say again, I think that these children and families have been through so much, and so we’re not talking about destabilizing them. I just want to flip that premise. What we are trying to do is actually stabilize them make sure they have what they need and make sure that those families that are just coming to us at the front door also has an opportunity.

So, we are managing the best. And people can disagree with the way that we’re doing it, but we are sitting in these seats and we have to do it. We have to make the tough decisions. There are no good decisions right now, but we have a clear objective, which is to keep families and children safe and to make sure that they need as they go along.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to come back to you over the next couple of weeks and we’ll tell you, what have been the challenges, what’s worked, what more can we do. But I just don’t like this premise that we are destabilizing families or that we are harming children and families. There’s no evidence of that, and so I just want to make that clear.

Dr. Long: And I’ll just add on to that. You know, I’m a primary care doctor. I see patients in the Bronx every Friday. My job is to plan ahead of my patients and to get them what they want and what they need.

Every family, having met with us four times already, this is not a surprise to anybody, any family. We’ve done our very best as a city to help plan what your next steps will look like. And again, for more than 90,000 people, we’ve already succeeded doing this. So, every family that we’re able to succeed with moving forward deserves their own celebration. That’s what stability is. Stability is our ability to say to plan ahead with you for you.

And then just one other quick note. You said about families sleeping on the street. I just want to be clear on this point, as the mayor said. One of the things that I am proudest of as I look across the country— and frankly, across the rest of the world— is that through our incredibly hard work here, we have never had a family with children sleep on the street in New York City.

That’s not something that other cities can, that other cities have necessarily experienced. But here in New York City as the father of two small kids myself, we’re not going to let it happen on our watch.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: No.

Mayor Adams: And the counsel will go into the buses. And we need a high level of discipline not to turn this into politics. We’re talking about people. And the real rallies we should be having is telling the national government that this should not be happening to New York City.

And that is where we are right now. We have, I think, symbolized what’s great about this city. This is a city of immigrants. This is a city where opportunities, where you don’t allow people to work, where you do not fund a national problem, you’re putting people into precarious positions.

And so we need all of our colleagues across this entire city to really rally with us and call the federal government to do its job. New Yorkers have done their job. The national government must do its job. And we’re going to need help coming this budgetary cycle from Albany. We’re going to need some real help on funding, stabilizing, doing a decompression strategy right here in this state. All these things are needed.

And so, when someone states that this administration and New Yorkers are going to have children and families sleeping on the street, there is zero evidence of that, zero evidence in anything we said or any policy that we put in place. There is no evidence of that at all.

And so there needs to be a level of honesty that we’re very clear on what we are doing. And as Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom stated, we’re going to come back, and we have to pivot, we have to shift. This is new territory. There’s no one that has ever dealt with a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude, 164,000 people in the city, 1.5 the size of Albany. We had a city dropped in our city. At least the city of Albany, people have the right to work.

When you think about this remarkable feat that we’ve accomplished. And we’re going to continue to do it. We’re going to navigate ourselves through this, but we need everyone to be calling on Albany, calling on… I’m sorry, the federal government to do its job. And New Yorkers are angry, asylum seekers are angry, the mayor’s angry, we’re all angry, you know? But we are doing the best we have with the resources that’s in front of us.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: And I want to just piggyback, you have to look at this historically. When President Clinton was the president of the United States back in 2002, he commissioned Barbara Jordan to do a study on the federal immigration policy of the United States of America. And she came back with an immigration policy in which she made very clear distinctions on things that needed to be done. Nothing had been done. Nothing.

So, had the federal government back in 2002 stopped fighting each other, the Senate was fighting with Congress, Congress was fighting with the Senate and they couldn’t come to an understanding. They were at an impasse. You can look it up historically, you can look it up.

And if the federal government had done its job back in 2002 and put together a comprehensive immigration policy to address the needs of the people who wanted to immigrate into the United States, we wouldn’t be where we are today. So, right now, New York is getting the brunt of it, but we guarantee you that if something isn’t done, other states will get the same influx that we are receiving. So, again, we need help. We need the federal government to do its job.

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Mayor, did you want me to…

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes, yes. The buses.

Zornberg: Yes. So, let’s talk buses for a moment. As many of you saw, the City of New York represented by the Law Department and by Paul Weiss as outside counsel last week filed a suit against 17 transportation companies that are participating in Texas’s bad faith plan to overwhelm New York City’s social services system.

Let’s be clear about the extreme conduct that we are seeing and that our lawsuit addresses and that our executive order has sought to address as well. We are not talking about a busing operation that is operated for a strictly humanitarian purpose or any humanitarian purpose here.

We’re talking about a deliberate, express plan to flood and overwhelm the social services system of the City of New York and a few other targeted cities in the United States. And the bussing plan that Governor Abbott is leading with the full participation of certain bus companies, seeks to punish New York City and certain other cities for political reasons.

It is not a resettlement plan. Migrants are given very limited choices: you’re going to go to New York City, Chicago or Denver. It is not in good faith when the bus companies that are doing the transportation refuse to coordinate in any way, shape or form.

It’s not in good faith to drop off families with children in the middle of the night and on weekends without any advanced notification. It’s not in good faith when New York City tries to coordinate and reaches out to Texas Department of Emergency Services that no one will pick up the phone. It’s not in good faith that when you make the reasonable ask “tell us when and where you’re going to drop off,” they purposely don’t.

And so there’s a real bad faith effort to stymie our ability to manage a humanitarian crisis. And that was what the executive order got at as well, and we see a pattern that the same buses now are evading it and are instead dropping off in New Jersey. And there’s a whole course of conduct.

But I want to make clear: no one has sought to ban any bus from coming into New York. No one has sought to ban any migrant from coming into New York. But we are going to use every available means and tool that we have to manage this crisis and to protect New York City.

And when you deal with extreme cases like this kind of conduct, New York State law expressly permits the commissioner of Social Services to sue those responsible for that bad faith plan to overwhelm our social services system to pay costs. And that’s what we’re seeking to do. Now, you asked about coordination with our partners, and I’m pleased to say that we’re coordinating very closely with the state of New Jersey and will continue to do so.

Deputy Mayor Levy: So, just piggybacking off that. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has been a great partner, and he just issued a letter— if you look to your screen right here— demanding that the bus companies that are bussing people to New Jersey and sending them then here to New York give them advanced notice.

So, this has just been issued right now by the Governor of New Jersey, so we’re grateful to have his partnership. I don’t know, mayor, if there’s anything else you want to say about that?

Mayor Adams: We communicated with the governor last week. He has shared our outrage on the behavior of the bus companies and Governor Abbott, and he has really, as the other governors in this region have shown, I should say other municipalities in this region have really shown their willingness to really address this issue.

Because I think Ingrid was right that this is something that can spill over in all of these municipalities, and I think they’re starting to understand that, and we really thank the governor for his partnership on this issue.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And what’s noticeable about this letter is that he’s asking for the same 32 hours notice that we’ve asked of the bus companies. He’s asking for the number of people on board. He’s asking for specific drop‑off locations. So, the Governor of New Jersey has been a great partner here.

Mayor Adams: Right. And what’s clear here as we continue to say, just as we saw in crime, when we put in place our Subway Safety Plan and our anti-gun plan, just as we saw with Deputy Maria Torres‑Springer about jobs, recovering more private sector jobs in the history of this city, just as we did with tourism.

We put plans in place. That’s what we do. And you see the results of our plans. Crime is down because we had a plan. Jobs are up because we had a plan. Tourism is back because had a plan. We had a plan of dealing with the migrants and asylum seekers; and one of those plans, part of the plan is to build a coalition. And you see the results of that plan, Chicago, Denver, the governor. So this is an administration that puts in place plans to address the problems that’s in front of us.

Anyone can protest. You know, anyone can throw a stone. Throwing a stone is not a plan, it’s just have your dirty hands. We have put in plans to execute the crisis from navigating us through Covid to where we are right now, and that is what an administration dealing with complex problems and a city like New York must do. And that is what we have done.

Question: Mr. Mayor, so I know you just said that the letter, it’s a great first start. But would you like to see more weight behind it, like your Executive Order, to see some fines and penalties that these bus companies break this letter that Murphy wrote, would you like to see something more than the letter?

And when it comes to Albany— looking forward to seeing you tomorrow up there— I’m just wondering, when you’re listening to the State of the State tomorrow, what are you hoping that Governor Kathy Hochul commits to when it comes to the migrant crisis?

Mayor Adams: Well, we have, and I really have to thank my counsel here at City Hall and the Corp Counsel. We have went through every law that’s on the books and see how do we push back on this behavior of the bus companies and the governor.

And we are going to continue to do so. We are not going to sit back. New Yorkers deserve more. We’re going to be aggressive in our actions of what the bus companies and Governor Abbott is doing.

And so we’re not going to leave any stone unturned. We’ve reached out and got partners like Paul Weiss. We’re reaching out to other law firms because this is going to impact our entire city. And we have to be really thankful that these law firms have stepped up. They’ve stepped up and helped us in the application process, they stepped up with legal advice. And it’s just really a coming‑together moment for New Yorkers, so I’m excited about that.

When it comes down to in Albany, it’s very clear, very direct. We need a real housing agenda. We left Albany last year without a housing agenda when every elected would tell you that is at the top of their list of what they hear from their constituency.

We are hoping that we get some real teeth in cannabis. I want to close these cannabis shops in our city. And this is a problem that has become extremely statewide spread, and we can do it. We can clean it up if we’re given the teeth to do so. I thank Assemblywoman Rajkumar for her bill. What she is introducing is a good step in the right direction.

We want to continue mayoral control of schools. I mean, look at our success. Reading scores are up, math scores are up. We’re outpacing the state. We are feeding our children better food in our schools.

What Chancellor Banks has done, his new form of reading. The state is joining us in saying, what you guys are doing around reading, everyone should join. I predict that the entire country is going to join what Chancellor Banks had the vision to do.

So, we need to continue the success that we’ve had in education. And so we want to continue mayoral control. Two kids from public school, one is now a chancellor and next is the mayor. It’s not only a symbol, it’s the substance that we’re showing. And we want to continue to move forward in how we continue to drive business in this city. I know we have one or two more items. Housing was the first piece.

Lewis-Martin: She has the migrant…

Mayor Adams: Asylum, oh, my God. [Crosstalk.] [Laughter.]

Lewis-Martin: Don’t leave that out.

Mayor Adams: We need to clearly define asylum seeker support and funding. That is, you know, when I go to Albany tomorrow, I’m going to sit down with the leaders there and really ask for their support as we really move forward with how do we do our decompression strategy here in the state, the numbers that we were supposed to spread throughout the state. I think we did 84, Anne?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: They’re up to 100 now.

Mayor Adams: Up to 100. So, we’re going to have a conversation with that.

And the governor has been a partner on many of these issues. When I met with her two weeks ago she understands the needs of housing, she understands the needs for cannabis, she understands this is something that should not be happening around asylum seekers. So, she has been a partner on these issues, and so we’re really going to push this legislative session.

We have some good partners, Assemblyman Gibbs, Assemblywoman Rajkumar, Rodneyse Bichotte, assemblywoman, the county leader. We have some real partners that know this is impacting their districts, and so they’re going to understand our agenda and we’re excited about this session in Albany.

Question: Good afternoon.

Mayor Adams: Good afternoon.

Question: What can you tell us about the incident that occurred at Randall’s Island Saturday, and is this an indicator that maybe the city has to start thinking about metal detectors on the shelters?

Mayor Adams: The team was already looking at bringing metal detectors to the shelters, you know, and that is a part of our goal, public safety. Commissioner Iscol, you could probably go into the particular incident that happened at the location.

Commissioner Zachary Iscol, New York City Emergency Management: Yes. I’m happy to, sir.
So, there was, you know, the incident is still under investigation but essentially there was an altercation in the chow line at the dining facility there that unfortunately led to one of the guests there being killed with a knife.

The NYPD, I was there on the scene with them late into the night along with a number of other folks from the administration, they’re doing their investigation. I don’t know, Ted, if you have anything else you want to add to that, or if there’s any other details that have been reported that you’re looking for specifically from that incident.

Mayor Adams: In addition to the metal detectors, the New York City Police Department and our team, we’re going to utilize visual technology. We’re going to put cameras in many of these sites and locations.

And due to the quick response of the security team that’s there and NYPD were able to make at least one apprehension. One person is in custody. And as Commissioner Iscol stated, it’s still under investigation. But it’s horrific, you know, to have someone come here to pursue the American dream and see it turn into a nightmare to lose a life.

It’s really unfortunate that we lost this young man. And we’re going to continue to find those who are responsible. The overwhelming number of migrant and asylum seekers, they come here to be part of this great American experience. And there’s a numerical small number who will do something violent like that, and we’re going to carry out the full extent of law enforcement to bring them to justice.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor, happy Monday. I want to circle back on the deadly incident and also the stabbing incident that happened outside St. Brigid’s school over the weekend as well.

Mayor Adams: [inaudible] stabbing.

Question: There was a stabbing in line at St. Brigid’s school, the reticketing center in the East Village. So, the city is spending up to $25,000 per day at some shelter sites [inaudible] on security. So, at this point, are you… How do these incidents even happen when we’re spending such a high price tag on this. And are you reevaluating some of these contracts?

Just a second question, circling back on the bus companies and Governor Murphy putting out his letter today, was this part of the political calculus to have this rolling executive order like I guess throughout the region as the bus drops, because it seems like the lawsuit kind of hinges upon bad faith, right?

So, this gave them the option to choose to operate in bad faith dropping off in New Jersey. If you had had a coordinated executive order in the whole region that would not have been possible and the lawsuits would not have been possible.

Mayor Adams: The counsel could go into that, and there’s a lot of coordination that’s going on.
But the security. I had a meeting this weekend with our entire team where we’re doing a complete analysis of the security, beefing up our training, better coordination. We put in place a few mobilization concepts so hat we can shift manpower when it’s needed.

We broke down our locations into a color‑coded scheme, red, green, yellow— green being that everything is stabilized; red is where we may have some issues; and yellow is, you know, sort of wavering. And Tim Pearson, Commissioner Iscol, our police personnel, we’re going to be having a coordinated meeting with all the security personnel to bring them all together.

We’re putting signs at our locations that’s going to state the code of conduct. We’re bringing clarity to the whole process.

To answer your question directly, could something like this happen with the amount that we’re using on security. Often we look at incidents that happen, we don’t see the incidents that never happen. Something like this can happen anywhere. You have thousands of people who are placed in an environment, you know, where you’re just dealing with the stress of being placed in that environment. And the security personnel that we have there, they have been doing an amazing job of ensuring that you’re not seeing a high level of disturbance at the locations.

So, this can happen anywhere. You know, people who have violent tendencies will carry out a violent act, and the number of cases and incidents that we’re properly able to resolve without being heavy handed is really commendable. But we always want to do better. We want to produce a better product, and that’s what we did over the weekend.

We had a two‑day meeting over this even prior to the stabbing, of really producing a better product because public safety is a prerequisite to prosperity no matter where you are.


Zornberg: Yes, sure. First, I would say in response to your question that it was not a surprise or a shock that the State of Texas started bussing, having their buses drop off in Jersey or just outside New York City after the executive order went into place on December [27th] because that’s a similar pattern to what the State of Texas did in Chicago, after Chicago enacted an ordinance reasonably as a management tool for humanitarian crisis.

And then we’ve heard from the mayor of Chicago that the upshot was that Texas started bussing to people in the middle of nowhere an hour or two outside and giving metro tickets. So, there’s a consistency.

We hoped— we hoped— is it really unreasonable in the middle of a humanitarian crisis to ask the cooperation and coordination of those who are transporting migrants to our city? But it really does come back to extreme bad faith. This is not the relative who is driving someone to a home where someone can go in New York City. This is a political plan to target New York City and a few other cities.

And it’s in bad faith, and the bus companies have demonstrated their full participation in that bad faith plan, including by not cooperating with an executive order that simply for notification to be a management tool and instead, instead of dropping in New York City on random streets in the dead of night, now they’re pulling up at New Jersey transit stations in the dead of night without any notification and dropping people and giving them tickets to get on the train and arrive at New York City Penn Station.

The impact is here. The effect is here. And the bad faith, we submit, is clear. So, what we’re trying to do, this is a dynamic situation. But the mayor is fond of saying, we pivot and move, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do with the coalition of our partners.

Question: Hi, mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. Next week you’re doing another budget update as expected and there’s going to be more budget cuts announced likely. The libraries said they might have to cut service on Saturdays if there’s more cuts. Do you expect the cuts next week to be deeper than the previous ones, more painful, and are you comfortable closing libraries on Saturday?

Mayor Adams: Jacques and his team every day we do a briefing as we move forward to the formal announcement of what the budget is going to do. And when it’s time to announce that, we’re going to make sure it as public as possible as we negotiate with our partners in the City Council. We’re going to do everything that’s possible to alleviate the painful moment that we’re finding ourselves in.

Our budget that we would like to produce won’t cut anything. We want our libraries to be open. We want our police classes to be continued. We want to continue our trash pickup. We want to continue to make sure our parks are clean. That’s the budget that we would like to pass.

But Jacques has a very challenging and difficult task. And he’s been briefing us, and we’re going to, actually we have a meeting this afternoon to look at what we could save as much as possible. When it’s time to formally announce it, we’re going to make sure that we let everyone know and the City Council will be briefed as well.

Question: So [inaudible] you won’t cut [inaudible].

Mayor Adams: I’m sorry, I won’t what?

Question: You said you won’t cut from the police budget again, you’re not saying for the same libraries.

Mayor Adams: I’m saying when Jacques comes up with the official announcement the final plan we’re going to roll it out and share it with everybody. We’re still in deep negotiations right now.

Zornberg: Just one moment. I’m informed that I misspoke. If I said December 12th, I just want to correct that the Executive Order was promulgated by the mayor on December 27th and there was a short grace period and implementation began around New Year’s. Thank you.

Question: Hi mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Let’s talk about a different issue. So, as you expressed many times your frustration about the [inaudible] block the bridge and tunnels and all this thing, and today, in the morning, what happened. You know, all the tunnels and bridges [inaudible] people. They are the New York residents and your constituents. And definitely [inaudible] position of, you know, ceasefire or not. What is your exact position and what is the message to them?

Mayor Adams: The first, you know, as the counsel stated a few weeks ago, the right to protest does not give one the right to block bridges and tunnels, as we saw this morning. Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, one or two of the tunnels from my observations, we had our drones up and it gave me a real bird’s‑eye view of what was taking place.

The goal is to peacefully protest without doing major disruption to the city. Some people are not just driving to and from crossing our bridges to go to their place of employment, some of them are dealing with some real emergency‑type issues.

And I’ve been extremely clear: it gives us all pain to see innocent lives being lost right now. We need to do everything that’s possible to end anything that’s going to take the lives of innocent people.

But Hamas must be destroyed. They’re a terrorist organization. Their barbaric act on October 7th cannot be ignored. Every hostage should be released and allowed to return to their families.

And we need to find a peaceful resolution to what is playing out right now really across our globe— not only in the Middle East; what’s going on in Ukraine and what’s going on in parts of the continent of Africa. There’s no place for war and innocent people losing their lives.

Question: Good morning.

Mayor Adams: Good morning, how are you?

Question: Mr. Mayor, if Donald Trump is indeed banned from running his business in the City of New York, is that going to be good for the City of New York?

Mayor Adams: If he’s banned from running…?

Question: If indeed, it will take, I mean, it will be ordered that he has to close his business license in the State of New York, of course it’s going to impact the City of New York a lot with the business he built here. Is that going to be good for the City of New York?

Mayor Adams: Well, I think Attorney General James, she has been conducting a very thorough investigation. I have to take my hat off to her on several of the cases that she has been involved with in general, but specifically with the use of how Donald Trump has used his business practices.

And I think she could do the final analysis of the outcome of what happens with his businesses here. I don’t know if the Trump name is going to be banned from doing business in the city. I don’t know if the actual companies have to close. We will find out after the AG finishes up her final conclusion and the judge hands down the decision.

Question: Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor. Different subject. An online publication last week unearthed…

Mayor Adams: I’m sorry?

Question: Last week there was an online publication, they unearthed this copy of a book you apparently wrote in 2009 called Don’t Let It Happen. You discussed this childhood incident apparently involving a gun…

Mayor Adams: I’m sorry. Can you [inaudible] I can’t hear you.

Question: Yes, yes. There was an incident where you apparently fired a gun at a school?

Mayor Adams: I fired…?

Question: You said that you fired a gun. You…

Mayor Adams: What book is this?

Question: It’s called Don’t Let It Happen, in 2009 it came out.

Mayor Adams: Uh‑huh. Right.

Question: Do you…

Mayor Adams: I never fired…no, I never…

Question: …copy down the hall if you want to grab it.

Mayor Adams: Yeah. No, you gotta grab [it] I’ll read it. I never fired a gun in school.

Question: Okay. You wrote that you “pointed what I thought was a toy gun at my group of friends and pulled the trigger. A round discharged; and only by the grace of God and my poor aim did the bullet miss my friends.”

Mayor Adams: You said it fired in school.

Question: I believe this was in a school.

Mayor Adams: I think the person who… The coauthor of the book may have misunderstood the exact, someone… There was an incident at school where someone pointed a, they thought it was a toy gun and they may have misunderstood. That book never got into print because we never went through the proofreading aspect of it.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. How are you. Good morning, team. Good morning, Dr. Long. The CDC is reporting that [half] of the country has seen spike in RSV, Covid and flu. There isn’t a lot of messaging about that, no ads. I think, you know, I don’t know how good that is.

But the second part of it is all platforms, the Reset Talk Show, you talk about all current events and all these health concerns, and we have [Dr. Madow] on Friday, we spoke about the importance of vaccines.

I went to CVS because you can’t preach one thing and don’t do it. I was looking to get my Covid shot, and they said no walk‑ins. You have to register. All right? You know, that’s the pushback. They have people on the line behind me, and they didn’t receive that very well at all.

Secondly, my daughter’s 18, so I wanted to get her a flu shot. Insurance couldn’t accommodate it because she’s not 19 or above. So, I had to pay for her vaccine. You know, there are methods that have to be in place, that should be in place where we could deal with situations and such.

I’m sure the hospitals are different. But if we’re going to tell people to walk into pharmacies to get their vaccinations and when you go there there’s different types of pushbacks, I think that’s a challenge.

So, one is, should we have more messaging about where we are right now? How people are sick. I have like six members of my family, not in my household, including Pastor Straker from the [inaudible], his whole family is wiped out with the flu or Covid. And a lot of people. I see Camille here with her mask on. It’s serious. It’s a serious situation right now.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Dr. Long.

Dr. Long: Thank you. So, a couple of thoughts, number one slightly joking, but actually totally seriously: if you want to get your Covid shot, come to my clinic, we do walk‑ins. So, come to the Bronx on Friday. I’ll give it to you myself. I’ve had my Covid shot myself, the monovalent, and everybody here should get it as well.

In terms of specifically about CVS, I’m not familiar with them not allowing walk‑ins. So, I think we’d have to look into that and get back to you on that. What we are seeing in wastewater surveillance from the CDC, as you know, is that this is a very significant spike in Covid, and that’s not specific to New York City, but that’s in general.

So, a couple of things that we have done that we have messaged about is that New York City Health + Hospitals, we now have a mask requirement for any clinical settings. So every time I’m in clinic on Friday, when you see me for your vaccine, I will be wearing a mask. Everybody in my clinic will be wearing a mask, every patient will be wearing a mask, too. And that’s just reflective of the times. We’ve actually, since we made that announcement, have seen many other health systems follow.

In terms of messaging around vaccines and around other layers of protection for Covid, I agree, we should have clear messaging… Sorry, that we should have messaging about what’s going on in New York City and across the country right now with respect to Covid and the people should know where they can get their vaccine.

We have a website to enable people to easily find the locations for it, and we’ll go and make sure that everywhere on the website that says they allow walk‑ins is in fact doing so.

Deputy Mayor Levy: I would also add, so the mayor sends out his Hear from Eric newsletter once a week. For the last two or three weeks at least, minimum if not more, I’ve specifically approved language in it that talks about where you can get your vaccines, how you can get free testing, all of that.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, I know they had a campaign, I Vax We Vax campaign that was out. They did backpack letters to put in kids’ backpacks from school to send it back home. I know that they had did multiple advertising campaigns this year. The mayor got his Covid vaccine here in the Blue Room to advertise for folks.

And I think we sent about two million— we’ll double‑check that number, but two million— from the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene on specifically these campaigns.

Question: Presently they’re saying the next 60 days is when this is really crucial when people really need to be vaccinated. So, those ads were, what, maybe six or seven months ago, but we’re talking about presently.

Deputy Mayor Levy: They’re still going.

Question: Oh, okay.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: I’ll follow up with Commissioner Vasan and talk to him and give him your feedback.

Question: And lastly, about [inaudible] what I said is the CVS was saying they don’t have any more walk‑ins, you have to register for your vaccine.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: We’ll check that. We’ll check that.

Dr. Long: And my clinic does do walk‑ins, so I’ll see you Friday. [Laughter.]

Question: Okay. Thank you.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Hi, Grace, how are you?

Question: Good. I wanted to ask you, before when you were talking about how the city has been handling the crisis, but one of the challenges is we can’t close the front door. I was wondering, what are you referring to in that instance? Are you talking about your efforts to amend the right to shelter?

And then my second question is, with regards to the state’s relocation program, on Friday I spoke to state officials and they acknowledged the 300 on the waiting list that the city has. But one thing they raise as a challenge for them is they said, well, we don’t really know how many of these migrants would like to go upstate.

And I guess since you’re here, Dr. Long and also Deputy Williams‑Isom could answer this as well, in your experience, when you’re talking to migrants, do you find that a lot of them are not interested in moving outside of the city?

Mayor Adams: The closing the front door is everything, is the unjust action from Governor Abbott, is the national government decompression strategy. It is what we’re looking at in court right now as we talk about the right to shelter was not really meant for humanitarian crisis of this nature.

It is the constant flow of thousands of people coming each week. We can’t stop that flow, and there are many rivers that feed in that sea of that flow, as I use that analogy often. And we have to dam each one of those rivers, because if you dam just the river of the right to shelter but you still have them coming in flowing through the other rivers, it doesn’t solve the problem.

So, there’s not a one size or one answer to the closing of the front door, we need to close each one of those doors that’s creating this crisis that we’re facing.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Let me start. I think that— and Camille talks about this a lot—  but I think people get nervous going someplace and being the only one, and they want to go to a place where they’re feeling welcome and where they feel like they can have community. So we’ve talked about, are there ways we can send groups of people up? Are there faith‑based organizations, community‑based organizations that we connect people to.

So, I think the state should think innovatively about, if this doesn’t seem like it’s working, what’s next? You can’t just say Plan A doesn’t work so I’m throwing my hands up, what’s Plan B and what’s Plan C? Anything that you want to add to your conversations?

Dr. Long: Yes. I think what I would say is putting Plan A, B, C on the table is what case management is. I think zooming out for a second, one of the most important things that we’re doing now that we’re going to continue to do working with national experts like International Rescue Committee moving forward is honing our case management strategy.

So, the specific question you asked is, do people generally want to go upstate? The answer is many do, but not everybody does. The premise behind case management is we talk to people, figure out what their needs are, whether it’s OSHA training to get a job in New York City, helping you with the legal framework in order to do that, whether it’s having to go to upstate to get the job you want, Albany, Rochester, you name it.

A strong case management program will enable us to be successful finding what it will take to help you resettle. Again, I’m confident this is going to work, because with our help more than 90,000 people that have been in our system have since left.

So, I sort of think of myself in primary care as a medical doctor of case management, talking to my patients, my goal is to figure out what your needs are to help either to solve them or refer them.

So, every referral that we make to the MRAP program, we’re thankful that Governor Hochul has put this on the table, these are people that we’ve been able to, through our case management approach, identify they want to go upstate, and the governor put on the table the ability to send them upstate. So, it’s an effective way of doing it, we just need to do much of it.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Much more and much quicker.

Mayor Adams: Hold on, hold on, hold on. Don’t be… Chris, we’re not going to call on you if you’re going to be [call] screaming out.

Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: I have, the question is three parts. I’ll do it as fast as I can. I think you can answer it really quickly if you’re responsive to the question.

Since you guys are the ones planning this 60‑day process and you know when the 60‑day notices were all given out, can you please tell us when and where the next 60‑day notices will come due after tomorrow? How often do you expect them to come due, and for approximately how many families?

Then, since you’ve met with the 40 families who are leaving the Row tomorrow more than four times, shouldn’t you already know what their barriers are and can you give us a preview of how many of those people you expect to leave who have already been lined up with jobs or housing somewhere else. Shouldn’t you already know that, and can you tell us what you expect?

And finally, if those families don’t have other plans, what will the reapplication process look like, more specifically? I know you said they’re going to go to the Roosevelt Hotel, but do they also have to go to the reticketing center? I’m just trying to understand more how long that will take, when they’ll get resettled. Sorry for the long question.

Dr. Long: In terms of how we’ve been working with families so far, I just want to acknowledge the point you’re making, which is this is really hard. I have two small kids at home. If you were talking to me about where I would want to spend the next several years of my life it’s harder than if I was just a single adult alone. I’d have different barriers. I’d have to think about the school for my kids. I’d have to think about the job I’d want to get to support my whole family, not just myself.

So, with case management we have seen people, again, already starting to leave. More than 90,000 people have already left. But going forward, I just want to level set here. It’s not like tomorrow through the case management program that we have everybody’s going to be able to exit our system and not come back.

I think it’s going to be we’re going to make slow but sure progress as we have been successful doing so far, and we’re going to build upon that as we expand programs like MRAP that Governor Hochul supported. 

So, we’ll get back to you about the specific numbers, but I just wanted to make the point that I truly believe case management is “the” approach, as deputy mayor said, putting the options on the table.

We’re going to connect each family with their own story to the option that makes sense for them so they can celebrate their birthday in their apartment or with friends and family this coming year.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: I just want to say 4,400 families have been given 60‑day notices, and so we have the schedule of what that’s going to look like over the next couple of weeks. And so we’ll give that to you once we get through the next two weeks. And then I’ll have way more information to tell you about what were people’s barriers, what did people do, how many people left, how many people stayed, how many extensions did we give.

Question: And on the reticketing/Roosevelt Hotel reapplication process, how long do you expect that to be? Do they have to go to the reticketing center like the single adults?

Dr. Long: A really important question; and actually, to be clear for everybody. Adults, when they’re returning, go to the reticketing center. Families with children that need to return into our city system because there’s nowhere else for them to go right now will come to the Roosevelt, the arrival center. So, we’re bifurcating very intentionally there.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Just to be clear, Ted. You’re saying adults without children.

Dr. Long: Correct, sorry.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Just want to be very clear for everybody so that we don’t have…

Question: …and will the families stay at the Roosevelt Hotel?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: We’re hoping to do it very quickly.

Dr. Long: That’s why we’ve had…sorry, sir.

Mayor Adams: Yes, and when we first hit the 30‑day notice, people were pushing back on us and saying that it was inhumane to do the 30‑day notice where the, I think 80 percent, Camille, of those 80 percent of those who were given a 30‑day notice stabilized themselves, 20 percent stayed.

And so we’re going to continue to evaluate and find different methods. So, people thought it was wrong we did the 30‑day notice, turned out that it was the right thing to do.

What you don’t want to do is create a permanent state that people are living in these unstable environments. It’s just wrong to do that. And with the aggressive case management, with the notifications, we’re just keeping people focused that we want to get you stabilized. That is our goal. We don’t want to create a permanent environment where people are not stabilized, where children are growing up in environments like this that’s very important.

And all the experts state that a child growing up in an environment without housing is going to be dealing with so many issues that we have to be very clear on.

Get Chris’ question before we go. What is your question?

Deputy Mayor Levy: Wait, wait. Hold on. Ted wanted to add something.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Just really quick. Go ahead. Go ahead.

Dr. Long: Another important question was how long will people be staying at the Roosevelt Hotel. To be clear, when families with children are going tomorrow from the Row Hotel to the arrival center, we’re going to move heaven and earth to place them in a new hotel as quickly as possible.

I think an important point about this is that in New York City we have an arrival center. Other cities don’t have an arrival center, which means we have a singular place for people to go. Other cities have notices but no arrival center.

So, here in New York City we have the ability to say, there’s one place for you to go. Here’s what the experience is going to be. We’ve met with you more than four times at the Row Hotel, for example, before you go back to the arrival center. So, we want this to be very, very clear so that this is not a destabilizing process for families with children.

And again, just to drive the point home: the arrival center gives us that ability to be clear with families. If you were a family with children and you didn’t even know where you were going to go upon a 60‑day notice or things like that, it would be infinitely harder for than you in New York City where have you an exit planning team that’s looking out for you.

You have an arrival center so you know exactly where you’re going to go and we’ve started to work with you based on where kids in school so prioritizing children.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: And I just want to underscore, we’ve done this 90,000 times, literally. It’s been very thoughtful, with care. 90,000 times. So I just want to put it in perspective.

Question: One question for Dr. Long and one for you, Mr. Mayor. With the Roosevelt, last summer, as you maybe remember, there were some asylum seekers that ended up sleeping on the street because it was so crowded at the intake center.

Presumably, with these new 60‑day notices coming due, it’s going to get more crowded again. Is there anything that’s going to happen differently at the Roosevelt to expand capacity there, to make sure that people aren’t sleeping outside?

And then for you, Mr. Mayor, tomorrow the City Council, CityFHEPS reforms are supposed to be implemented by law. I know your administration has said you’re not going to do that and that you have legal arguments for why you don’t need to do it. Can you elaborate, what are those legal requirements?

Mayor Adams: Fabien will make sure you communicate with Judge Radix, the Corporation Counsel, and she’ll lay those out for you.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Can I just also just remind everybody, though, mayor, that we’ve made such strides in the work that we’ve been doing, just to remind you we lifted the 90‑day rule.

We’re able to now use CityFHEPS that’s around the state and make sure we get that done. Through our training, we’ve been able to present 17 percent more people for permanent housing. And so we think that this is a very important work that we’re doing and we’re going to continue to do that. But also a very important thing to remember is we have 10,000 people already who are in shelter with a shopping letter. So, we can follow up with the judge. [Crosstalk.] Go ahead, mayor.

Mayor Adams: And of my understanding, we have the largest number of people with the FHEPS voucher in the history of the program. And I really take my hat off to the editorial pages of your paper today that pointed out how important it is for the council and others to work with us to get the housing, not just to give people paper but to get the inventory.

I think the editorial board really laid out the case better than I’ve seen anyone lay it out. But we’ll let you speak to the Corporation Counsel and they will give you what the legal pathway is for us. I think there was a second part. Go ahead, doctor.

Dr. Long: So, in July of this past summer, as you all remember, we had the heartbreaking line outside of the Roosevelt Hotel. At that point, it was not because the arrival center was too busy, it was only because we didn’t have a suitable place to place people in. So, we ran out of capacity or space across the city. It wasn’t because the arrival center itself was overcrowded.

And the arrival center, which we have control over, we’ve worked miracles and moved heaven and earth to always make sure families with children have a place to go at night so that no family with children has ever had to sleep on the streets.
And going forward at the arrival center, we’ve now, just to show the effectiveness of it, we’ve helped more than 100,000 asylum seekers through the arrival center who have come in, received medical screenings, screening for communicable diseases, screening for depression, given the trauma they’ve been through. At the humanitarian centers and the arrival center, we’ve delivered more than 50,000 vaccines.

So, I would argue back it’s not an issue of the arrival center having been too busy then, and now I think the arrival center is one of the unique things that we have to make New York City’s approach more effective than other cities.

So, what you can expect from us for families with children coming back there is the same as Sheena said, careful planning, to make sure we’re anticipating what’s going to happen tomorrow and we are ready for tomorrow.

Manhattan, New York January 8, 2024

SOURCE: NYC.govMidtown Tribune News
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January 2024

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