After months of calling on the state and federal governments for aid in handling the roughly 42,000 migrants who’ve been arriving in the city for the better part of a year, Mayor Eric Adams’ demands were partially met Wednesday in the form of $1 billion from Governor Kathy Hochul.
The state’s chief executive announced the $1 billion in financial assistance for the five boroughs as part of her $227 billion Fiscal Year 2024 executive budget proposal, which she outlined in a presentation at the state Capitol on Wednesday.
The state funding is intended to account for about one-third of the crisis’ cost burden, including reimbursing the city for 29% of what’s spent on sheltering migrants in emergency facilities — including several so-called “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs).” The money will also go towards continuing to pay for National Guard troops deployed to the city to assist with the crisis and health care for the newcomers.
The state planned for the other two-thirds of the bill to be picked up by the federal government and the city itself.
While Mayor Adams said his team still needs to dig into the specifics of Hochul’s proposal, he praised the governor for giving the city some of the relief he’s been asking for since declaring a city state of emergency over the influx in October.
“I commend Governor Hochul for recognizing the need to provide state resources to assist with the ongoing asylum seeker crisis, and we look forward to reviewing her proposal in greater detail to ensure New York City gets its fair share of resources,” Adams said, in a statement.
The dollar figure Hochul proposed could easily change over the next couple of months of negotiations between her and the state legislature. A final budget agreement must be reached by April 1.
The mayor also renewed his plea for the White House and Congress to help alleviate the considerable price tag that’s come with providing for the, as of last month, 26,700 asylum seekers estimated to be living in city shelters. As the number of migrants has roughly doubled since the early fall, so has City Hall’s estimate of how much it’ll cost taxpayers — an increase of $1 billion to $2 billion.
“As I’ve said previously, a national crisis requires a national response,” Adams said. “We will continue to need our federal and state partners to do their part, and we look forward to working in partnership with them.”
The city has already received $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and $2 million from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but that’s hardly enough to cover the estimated tab.
While Hochul told reporters Wednesday that she’s had “many conversations” with President Joe Biden’s administration about getting more federal support for the city, she said she still hasn’t secured any specific commitments from Washington.
The governor said that during Biden’s visit to the Big Apple on Tuesday — to tout federal funding for completing the Gateway Tunnel project under the Hudson River — he assured her there would be federal dollars coming to the city, but he didn’t say how much.
“We were with the president yesterday and he did say that there’d be money coming from the federal government to help the city,” Hochul told reporters. “He did not give a number, but we believe that they should be picking up a significant share.”
Asked by a reporter if she has a backup plan in the case that the federal government doesn’t pay its one-third share of the cost her administration budgeted for, the governor didn’t detail one. Instead, she simply said “we’re gonna keep asking the federal government for assistance.”
“They know that we have a plan where we are providing a great deal of assistance,” Hochul said. “The city, obviously, has been providing a tremendous amount of assistance, but we also are going to keep pushing. And again, we have federal leaders with great influence in our state that we call upon to assist with this as well.”