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New York City Migrant Services on the Chopping Block in Second Round of Budget Cuts

NEW YORK — With New Yorkers still reeling from the first round of city budget cuts, including a dramatic cut in the number of officers, there’s word of a second round of belt tightening, and this time, migrant services are on the chopping block.

To be blunt, asylum seekers arriving in New York City are in for a rude awakening, says CBS New York political reporter Marcia Kramer. They may not be lodged in pricey Midtown hotels anymore, and instead of culturally appropriate meals, they may be handed a lunch bag with a turkey sandwich. The city’s budget crunch is that bad.

“I know you New Yorkers are angry when they hear about these efficiency cuts, but New Yorkers, I want you to know I’m angry also, Mayor Eric Adams said.

Adams was talking about yet another round of budget cuts — 5% that agencies will have to come up with in the next few weeks.

While the belt tightening is caused, in part, by the tens of thousands of asylum seekers seeking shelter here, they are now going to find that the city that never sleeps is not going to be so generous going forward in finding them places to sleep.

According to a letter sent to commissioners, the city is going to slash migrant services by 20%; that’s $1.5 billion. It’s “designed to reduce per-diem costs and reduce the length of shelter stays.”

“Are you going to have to close some of the shelters, some of the expensive hotels you’re using, in favor of the bigger congregate shelters?” Kramer asked the mayor.

“Nothing is off the table, nothing,” Adams said.

“Will we see people sleeping on the street?” Kramer asked.

“Our desire has always been in a layer approach. The first most important layer is not to have children and families sleeping on the street,” Adams said. “But I’ve made it clear, after over 140,000 migrants and asylum seekers, of course, that is just continuing to increase, thousands are still coming in each week. The visible signs of this crisis is going to start to show itself.”

The budget director said in his agency letter that the migrant cuts were due, in part, to a decision by the governor to limit asylum seeker aid to “targeted interventions,” like legal services instead of costly housing and shelter needs.

The governor made that clear Tuesday.

“We have to be, you know, have common sense on what we can actually handle, the city and the state, and the policies to say that there’s not unlimited housing for the entire world to come stay in a hotel in Midtown. OK? That era is over, and that’s just a reality check,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

Budget Director Jacques Jiha said that the city had been hoping to get one-third of the cost of migrant shelters from the state.

“So therefore we’re trying to, as best as we can, not to take any more drastic action that we need to do,” Jiha said.

The agencies, including the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations, have until Dec. 8 to come up with plans for the latest round of belt tightening.

Source : CBSNews