The New York City Council has announced that it has released a new report critically examining the City’s current policies and efforts in providing crucial services for asylum-seekers.

Included in the report — which was released following a two-day hearing by the City Council Committee — was a list of numerous policy proposals aimed at improving short-term relief efforts and long-term structural shortcomings, City Council said.

Among the main areas that City Council offered up recommendations for included shelters, housing, services for mental health, language access and much more.

“New York has always been a welcoming city where people from all walks of life can access opportunities, no matter where they are from or what language they speak,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams.

“Our city will only grow stronger by addressing the immediate and long-term needs of asylum seekers and all New Yorkers. As we prepare for the potential arrival of more migrants and work cohesively to provide culturally competent and necessary services, the City has an opportunity to strengthen our delivery of essential services to provide the utmost care and services for all. This set of policy recommendations and reforms is the Council’s contribution to advancing thoughtful, comprehensive ideas to better serve all communities.”

The New York City Council Holds Hearings on Asylum Seeking Migrants.  Photo: Provided/Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit.
The New York City Council Holds Hearings on Asylum Seeking Migrants. Photo: Provided/Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit.

Short-Term Recommendations

The short-term policy recommendations in the report focus on the priorities and needs of migrants during the pre-arrival and first few days of arrival stages.

Before more asylum-seekers arrive, City Council suggested that resources like funding for basic needs, the number of beds offered in shelter programs, and City language services could all be increased.

Additionally, the report suggests that communication between cities, states and organizations could increase to decipher better the number of migrants arriving and what support they require. City Council also recommended improvements to mental health services and humanitarian centers.

For the first days of arrival, City Council proposed the expansion of immigrant legal services, increasing multilingual staff at family welcome centers, and implementing assistance with public transportation, among other recommendations.

Long-Term Recommendations

The first long-term area of concern that City Council advised improving was housing. Among the recommendations were increasing permanent affordable housing, increasing staffing and efficiency at shelters, speeding up rental assistance approvals, and more.

City Council also addressed the area of health, food security, and economic opportunities for migrants. Specifically, the report advised that the City should expand workforce training, offer information on food assistance programs, as well as connecting asylum-seekers to free or low-cost healthcare options.

Finally, the report made an array of suggestions on how to improve education services for migrants that have arrived in NYC. This included increasing bilingual and multilingual teachers in schools, expanding English classes for adults and expanding childcare, among others.

Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala says that the purpose of the report is to proactively work together with leaders to improve the lives of migrants that have decided to make NYC home.

“Tens of thousands of people are choosing to restart their lives in New York and enrich our city with their talents and strengths,” said Deputy Speaker Ayala.

“While some are cynically seeking to play political football with their lives and well-being. New York stands ready to embrace our newest arrivals. Instead of pointing fingers at each other we need city, state, and federal leaders to come together to meet the moment with bold, forward-looking policy solutions such as those outlined in this report.”

To view the full report from the New York City Council, click here.

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