ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– As the asylum seeker situation continues, a decades-old rule requiring New York City to shelter the homeless is now back in the spotlight in the state court system.
“This is going to come down to a very sophisticated constitutional question,” said Hochul at a press conference on Thursday. “We brought in outside constitutional experts to assist with managing this, because we believe and I’m convinced, that the right to shelter is a result of a consent, decree undertaken by the City of New York, and Legal Aid Society back in 1979.”
That case was Callahan v. Carey, which when finally settled in 1981, made New York City the only major city required to shelter anyone who needs it. Now the city is asking the court to change that ruling saying there’s no more room
“They have not made that motion. So we are in court, and we are in negotiations, and the state is also a party to that case,” explained Kathryn Kliff, staff attorney for Legal Aid Society.”Again, that case hinged on Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, which guarantees the right to aid and care for the needy.”
On Thursday, the governor said the right to shelter doesn’t expand to all of New York. The Legal Aid Society wants the governor to take a stronger role in overriding local executive orders to force counties to accept migrants.
“The state has been stepping up in different areas, but there has to be a process to engage the local communities first and to let the people know that there’s gonna be support services for these individuals,” said Hochul. “So that’s a genesis of it.”
While the process plays out, the state has new representation. New York’s Attorney General is no longer representing the state in this lawsuit.
“It’s not uncommon for outside council to be brought in,” Hochul told reporters.
The state is now being represented by Selendy, Gay, and Elsberg. The law firm is expected to give the city a response as to how the state can help.
“That response is actually due today,” said Kliff. “Then we will be in court again next week conferencing with the judge and we are hoping the state will really play a leadership role here.”