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Adams drops plan to house migrants in luxury complex

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is backing away from a plan to house migrants in a luxury apartment complex in the city’s Harlem neighborhood amid outcry from the community.

Adams told residents in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood Thursday that he has no plans to use the building on the corner of 130th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. to provide housing for asylum seekers, according to CBS News. The residents had called the meeting to discuss the migrant housing plans when Adams showed up unexpectedly.

“We’re not moving folks into a brand-new building when you have long-term needs in a community,” the Democrat told them, according to the news outlet. “That’s not going to happen. You will not have migrants and asylum seekers in that property.”

The property was developed as a 35-unit luxury housing complex in 2007, but has been empty for about a decade after its developers defaulted on loans, according to published reports. It was recently leased to a nonprofit that works with the city, which planned to use it as a shelter for migrants and other homeless families.

The city Department of Social Services told CBS New York the building would be transformed into transitional housing for long-term New York families, not migrants.

“Despite the developer’s initial plans for market rate condominiums, development had been stalled and this building left indefinitely empty — it would not have advanced as luxury housing,” an agency spokesperson told the news outlet. “Instead of sitting vacant, this site will serve as high-quality transitional housing for long-term New York City families with children experiencing homelessness.”

The agency plans to work with a nonprofit group to help homeless families “stabilize their lives and ultimately move into permanent housing.”

“As we have always done, we will continue to maintain open lines of communication and work closely with the community every step of the way to ensure that we are collaboratively working to provide critical services for our neighbors in need,” the spokesperson said.

New York City has had an influx of more than 170,000 migrants over the past year, with about 70,000 under the city’s care. The city has spent more than $1 billion on housing and other needs for migrants, and Adams has proposed budget cuts to cover those costs.

Under New York’s right-to-shelter law, the city must provide emergency housing to anyone who requests it, regardless of their immigration status. The city seeks to suspend the rules in court temporarily, but the outcome of the legal challenge remains uncertain.

Adams has set a 60-day limit on the length of stay in city-run homeless shelters but has also been seeking to relocate migrants to other regions of the state, which has been met with pushback and legal challenges from local officials.

Republicans have long said New York City’s “sanctuary” policies are encouraging asylum seekers to resettle in the city amid the surge of immigration.