New York City is due to receive $30.5 million in migrant crisis aid for the first round of funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a small fraction of the $350 million Mayor Eric Adams’ administration had applied for in late March.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat representing parts of Brooklyn, announced the allocation Friday, which comes from an $800 million funding pot Congress approved late last year through an omnibus spending bill to help cities getting inundated with migrants. New York got the third largest allocation through FEMA”s Emergency Food and Shelter program behind Catholic Charities of San Antonio and Catholic Charities of San Diego, which each received roughly $39.8 million and $33.7 million respectively.
Jeffries, who’s been working with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to secure more assistance for the city, called the grant a “step in the right direction” for helping the city shelter and provide for the over 60,000 asylum seekers who’ve arrived here since April 2022 — over 37,500 are in the city’s care.
“Our City, State and nation are facing a humanitarian crisis that will take an all-hands-on-deck strategy at every level of government to help solve,” Jeffries said. “We in the Congressional Delegation knew that the need for resources in New York was great, and we included hundreds of millions of dollars through the government funding law to assist municipalities across the nation. The $30.5 million we worked to provide New York City in this first round of funding is a step in the right direction and will help the City continue to aid the more than 50,000 asylum seekers who have sought refuge.”
But the $30.5 million falls far short of the $350 million in funding — the full amount available to all cities in the first round — that Adams’ Budget Director, Jacques Jiha, had requested in the administration’s application to FEMA on March 29, according to a published report. Overall, beyond just the first funding round, Jiha had put in for $650 million to reimburse the city’s spending on the crisis between April 2022 and this past February.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Fabien Levy, blasted the allocation on Friday afternoon as “disappointing and woefully insufficient.”
“Today we were notified that New York City will receive only $30 million in federal FEMA funding out of the $350 million in total funds we initially applied for, despite already spending more than $1 billion to shelter asylum seekers,” he said. “This is both disappointing and woefully insufficient for a city that has carried the cost of sheltering, feeding, and supporting more than 60,000 asylum seekers in the last year. New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously throughout this crisis and we look forward to working closely with our congressional delegation to remedy this serious mistake.”
The mayor’s office also announced a new program Friday afternoon to relocate some of the single adult male asylum seekers, already in the city’s care, to hotels in the upstate towns of Orange Lake and Orangeburg — in Orange and Rockland Counties respectively. The migrants who opt-in into relocating upstate can spend up to four months at the participating hotels, which will provide the same services available at the city’s Humanitarian Emergency Relief and Response Centers (HERRCs).
The city is also due to receive $1 billion in migrant assistance from the state through the $229 Fiscal Year 2024 budget that state lawmakers passed and Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law this week — over a month after its April 1 deadline. Yet that amount, Adams said earlier this week, won’t be enough to reverse wide-ranging cuts he has made to city agencies through his Executive Budget in the name of paying for the crisis.
“I don’t know if people are aware of what we said is the financial impact [on] the city: $4.3 billion,” the mayor said earlier this week. “So because we are getting a billion, which is coming in layers from the state, do we go back and just spend wily again? No, the city must be efficient without layoffs and without cuts to services and we have to really acknowledge the turbulent forecast that’s in the future.”
Adams and Jiha have repeatedly said they estimate the cost of sheltering, feeding, clothing and otherwise assisting the mostly Latin American new arrivals will amount to at least $4.3 billion over this fiscal year and the next.
The mayor has grown increasingly agitated with the White House and last month directly called out President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat for whom Adams is serving as a surrogate on his 2024 presidential reelection campaign. In the same week, Adams said Biden and his administration had “failed” New York City on this issue and lamented the city is being “destroyed” by the migrant influx.
In addition to not giving financial support, Adams has also blasted the president for not taking steps that would allow more migrants to work and thus not have to rely as heavily on city resources.
“This is in the lap of the President of the United States. The President of the United States can give us the ability to allow people to work,” Adams said at the time.