The Shelter Advocacy Initiative at NYLAG provides legal services and advocacy to low-income people residing in and trying to access homeless shelter placements in New York City, including families who have recently crossed the Southern border to seek asylum in the United States. In New York City, the application process for family shelter is unnecessarily onerous and burdensome. Alongside that, the shelter system created for asylum seekers is inadequate and fails to protect them. Deborah Berkman, the supervising attorney of the Shelter Advocacy Initiative and the Public Assistance and SNAP practice at NYLAG, testified before the Committees on General Welfare and Immigration in support of legislation impacting immigrants experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity.
“Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (“HERRCs”) fail to meet the minimum standards for shelter in New York City by not providing residents with adequate food, not assisting residents with enrolling their children in school, and not providing access to medical care. NYLAG clients report experiencing each of these inadequacies while at HERRCS.”