Among the city agencies spending the most on migrant crisis response are the Departments of Homeless Services, Housing Preservation and Development, Emergency Management and Health + Hospitals.
Adams spokesman Charles Lutvak wouldn’t say whether the planned migrant crisis budget cuts will involve shuttering emergency shelters. Lutvak reiterated, though, that the administration must come up with a plan for plugging the $7.1 billion budget hole for the 2025 fiscal year by mid-January, when the mayor is supposed to release his first draft for the next city government budget.
“We must close an unprecedented budget gap in just two months, and without the significant and timely support we need from Albany and Washington, we will be forced to find even more savings,” Lutvak said. “Our state and federal partners can help stave off these cuts by providing the funding necessary to support vital city services.”
According to the latest data from City Hall, nearly 66,000 mostly Latin American migrants remain housed in city shelters, costing the administration millions of dollars every week.
Democratic leaders in the City Council — who could block some of the spending cuts sought by the mayor — have for months raised concern that Adams’ administration is overspending on migrant crisis response by relying on for-profit contractors for shelter services. The city has historically relied on non-profits in outsourcing such services.
Asked about the planned 20% migrant crisis spending cut, Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan, a Democrat who chairs the Council’s Finance Committee, said he has sympathy for the fact that Adams’ administration isn’t receiving enough monetary aid from the federal government to tackle the migrant crisis.
But Brannan said the for-profit contracting model the administration’s relying on isn’t doing the city any favors.
“Without real help from D.C., the administration has relied on expensive emergency contracts with for-profit companies that cost the city billions of dollars for migrant care and now the bill is due,” he said. “We need a full accounting of these costs and a long-term plan.”
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