Judge orders NYC to stop using school to house migrants — while blasting ‘Right to Shelter’ rule as ‘relic from past’

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A Staten Island decide Tuesday ordered the town to cease utilizing the location of a former Catholic faculty as a 300-person migrant shelter – whereas blasting the Huge Apple’s “Proper to Shelter” regulation as a “relic from the previous.”

Justice Wayne Ozzi issued a preliminary injunction that blocks the town from filling the previous St. John Villa Academy with asylum seekers, though it was not instantly clear whether or not the power would shut.

The Adams administration final month satisfied the state Appellate Division to maintain the Staten Island shelter open hours after the identical decide ordered it shut down in an earlier order.

Town instantly vowed to attraction Tuesday’s choice as nicely, with a rep for Mayor Eric Adams saying it “threatens to disrupt efforts to handle this nationwide humanitarian disaster.”

In the meantime, the Staten Island jurist additionally had some harsh phrases concerning the metropolis’s “Proper to Shelter” mandate, which since 1981 has required the 5 boroughs to present housing to anybody who applies for it.

Ozzi argued that the 1981 settlement “is meant to handle an issue as completely different from immediately’s dilemma as night time and day,” calling the regulation “an anachronistic relic from the previous.

Staten Island Justice Wayne Ozzi argues that the town’s “Proper to Shelter” regulation is outdated.
Spencer Burnett

“The consent decree was entered into to handle a selected drawback current on the time —
to offer housing for unlucky New Yorkers who wanted shelter,” Ozzi wrote. “Nobody can argue that there was at the moment a state of affairs of the magnitude current immediately — a digital flood of migrant asylum seekers whose numbers would fill two Yankee Stadiums and equal one-fifth of the inhabitants of Staten Island,” he mentioned.

Ozzi’s ruling comes two weeks after attorneys for Staten Island native Scott Herkert, who’s searching for a court docket order to shutter the location, argued at a listening to that the shelter creates an “unreasonable public nuisance” — together with as a result of he’s allegedly been smelling uncooked sewage from the location at his residence subsequent door.

A lawyer for the town argued that Herkert’s complaints don’t rise to the extent of what’s generally known as an “irreparable hurt” that the decide would want to search out to order the location closed, and accused Herkert and different locals of “simply not eager to reside close to a shelter.”

The 300-person shelter focused within the lawsuit is the previous residence of a Catholic faculty at 57 Cleveland Place on Staten Island.
Gregory P. Mango

As of Sept. 10, the town had opened 208 websites to deal with greater than 59,600 migrants.
Robert Mecea

“New Yorkers are bored with shouldering the burden of this nationwide disaster, and we perceive their considerations,” the Adams rep mentioned in a press release after Tuesday’s court docket ruling.

“Since spring 2022, we now have processed over 116,000 asylum seekers, with a mean of greater than 10,000 migrants persevering with to reach each single month asking for shelter. With 210 websites already open, together with 17 large-scale humanitarian reduction facilities, any website we are actually discovering are the one choices left.

“Whereas not a single household with youngsters has been pressured to sleep on the streets in New York Metropolis, this ruling jeopardizes our capacity to proceed offering shelter at that scale,” the consultant mentioned.

“We’re taking steps to instantly attraction this ruling, which we consider is inaccurate in key respects and which threatens to disrupt efforts to handle this nationwide humanitarian disaster. Situations like this underscore the pressing want for a broader state and nationwide answer, as we’ve emphasised repeatedly,” the rep mentioned.

Metropolis Corridor moved in Could to attempt to deal with its migrant housing points by briefly lowering the Huge Apple’s necessities for housing homeless households to assist make approach for asylum seekers.

However the Authorized Assist Society teamed up with former metropolis Social Providers Commissioner Steve Banks — who now works at white-shoe regulation agency Paul Weiss — to oppose Metropolis Corridor.

Legal professionals dealing with the “Proper to Shelter” case huddled at a closed-door listening to in Manhattan Supreme Court docket on Tuesday.

Justice Erika Edwards – after rising from the assembly in her chambers – mentioned all sides have been “definitely making progress” towards reaching an settlement.

Town now has till Oct. 3 to ship the court docket an up to date record of the methods during which it needs to vary the mandate, earlier than Authorized Assist will get the prospect to reply.

Edwards additionally recused herself from the case on Tuesday, citing a possible battle of curiosity that she didn’t clarify. 

The attorneys didn’t remark after the listening to.

Extra reporting by Craig McCarthy


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