While immigrants are trying to enter the shelter system, thousands of New Yorkers are seeking the same accommodations, even though there are few shelter spaces available.
Abbas is a New Yorker who says he needs a one-bedroom space.
He and his 16-year-old son, who has autism, have been living in a New York City shelter since 2021, and Abbas had to quit his job to care for his son.
According to Abass, doctors told him he needed a one-bedroom for his son’s health, and despite three transfers, he was put in the studio each time.
“His therapist said he needed space for him because of his condition,” Abbas said. “He needs to feel like he’s not cramped.”
The Legal Aid Society’s Catherine Cliffe said the shelter’s occupancy rate has been below 1% since June 3.
“This is a system that currently accommodates over 10,000 families with minor children,” says Kliff. “And you know, we’re talking about 20 or 30 units on any given night, so that’s very worrying.
According to city statistics, the number of individuals and families in shelters is increasing day by day. From January to June, the number of families in shelters fell below his 9,000. In July that number jumped to nearly 9,500, and in August he peaked at over 10,000.
Capacity includes 17 emergency shelters that the city has opened in the last 90 days.