NYC to receive over $100M in remaining migrant funds unlocked by feds: Sen. Schumer

US Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Photo by Dean Moses

New York City is due to finally receive the remaining $106 million in migrant crisis reimbursements allocated by the federal government after submitting certain paperwork last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s office confirmed to amNewYork Metro.

However, Mayor Eric Adams’ team insists that the feds are simply removing a hold so they can start accepting and processing reimbursement paperwork submitted by the city. While that’s a step forward, they say, it does not mean the funds are being released immediately.

“After the city submitted additional paperwork last week, the federal government has indicated that they will remove the hold on these previously allocated funds, giving us the ability to finally submit reimbursements for the up to $107 million,” Adams spokesperson Charles Lutvak said in a statement. “We appreciate the productive collaboration of our federal partners and will continue to work closely with them so money can be released.

The federal dollars are finally moving, a development first reported by the Daily News, nearly a year after they were first allocated to New York City from an $800 million nationwide pot approved by Congress in late 2022 to support cities on the frontlines of the migrant crisis. The city has so far only received $49 million of the estimated $156 million that was supposed to come its way. 

The money is coming after the mayor’s office submitted budgetary documents and a waiver on how much of the funds can be used to reimburse housing migrants in hotels, according to Schumer’s office. Specifically, the change will allow for 15% of the aid to be used for hotel costs, rather than the previous amount of 10%. The city said more of the money needs to be available for hotel reimbursements considering many migrants are housed in hotels.

The senator’s office says it worked as an intermediary between the Adams administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help get key paperwork “expeditiously” reviewed and processed.

Representatives for FEMA and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

The money is being unlocked following nearly two weeks of finger-pointing between the Adams administration and FEMA, which runs the aid program that distributes the funds over who was responsible for its slow roll out. City Hall claims the process for submitting the paperwork is too onerous and complicated, with rules that limit what the city can get reimbursed for, while the feds had said the city was not filing the right documents.

One unnamed federal official even went so far as to say that the city had not “stepped up to the plate” in claiming the funds. Adams has bristled at that characterization and accused the feds of trying to distract from what he sees as the bigger issue: that they have only allocated $156 million for the city, which is miniscule compared to the over $4 billion it has already spent on caring for tens of thousands of migrants.

“Don’t let them fool you guys,” Adams told reporters on Tuesday. “What’s lost in this conversation is that we spent $4 billion. They want to act like, ‘well you guys didn’t go after the hundred-and-something million [dollars],’ because that is a distraction.”

The mayor added that instead of casting his administration as incompetent and unable to complete paperwork, the feds should be simplifying the reimbursement process.

“There’s just a multitude of reasons that the money is not flowing as it should be,” he said. “We’re turning over everything that we have in our possession. They need to look at how they modify the paperwork, the requirements, the reimbursement to make it fairer, and to understand the moment of this crisis that we’re faced with.”