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Schumer, Jeffries secure nearly $105M to help cover cost of NYC’s migrant crisis

Jun. 7, 2023 By Ethan Stark-Miller

New York City is set to receive nearly $105 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help defray the $1.2 billion it’s already spent on sheltering and providing for tens of thousands of migrants, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced Wednesday.

The latest round of $104.6 million in federal dollars, which comes from the new FEMA Shelter Services Program, is far larger than the $30.5 million the city was given in the first wave of funding to cover migrants last month, an amount that drew the ire of Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. The allocation comes from an $800 million pot, which was approved by Congress last year in an omnibus bill, to help localities struggling to take care of an influx of migrants.

New York received the largest share of this round of FEMA funds among municipalities around the country, Schumer and Jeffries said in a joint Wednesday afternoon statement.

“When we negotiated these funds into the budget for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the new Shelter Services Program, it was with New York City’s needs front and center – and the share of funding of this tranche reflects that intent,” the lawmakers said. “Today’s $104.6 million in funds is the largest share of the federal dollars released via the new Shelter Services Program we created and will defray a critical portion of the City’s asylee-related costs.”

The mayor, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, said the new funding is “much needed” and will help the city address the growing cost of the crisis, which his office expects to reach at least $4.3 billion by July next year.

“Thank you to Leaders Schumer and Jeffries for responding to the needs of New York City by helping to secure over $104 million in much needed funding and fighting for the five boroughs as we continue to face this humanitarian crisis,” Adams said. “We’ve already spent over $1.2 billion and expect to spend over $4.3 billion through next June, but it’s clear that without the efforts of our congressional leadership, New York City would not have received additional federal funding.”

City lawmakers felt confident that they would receive a significant portion of the latest round of assistance, with several council members having met with federal officials in Washington Tuesday to advocate for migrant funds.

“We had great meetings yesterday,” City Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan, who was in Washington Tuesday, told amNewYork Metro. “Leader Schumer, Leader Jeffries and everybody we met with, they understand that New York City has taken on the lion’s share of asylees. And therefore, we should be in line for the lion’s share of funding. So this is definitely a good first start.”

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (center) and Finance Chair Justin Brannan (right) meeting with New York City’s Congressional delegation in Washington D.C.Credit John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

Brannan said council leadership’s discussions with federal officials on Tuesday indicated there’ll be more migrant funding coming to the city in the future as well.

Schumer and Jeffries said it will take an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to help New York provide for the over 46,000 migrants currently in its care. That means directing more funds into the city’s coffers and getting the White House to expedite work permits for asylum seekers, both actions the Adams administration has demanded from the feds since last fall.

The pair characterized the latest allocation as a “strong step in the right direction,” which “better recognizes” the city’s challenges with managing the influx than the first round of funding did. They also said it’ll be necessary to work with the House GOP majority going forward to secure additional cash for the city.

“Prior to this allotment from FEMA, we worked with the Biden administration to provide $38.4 million of funding to help the City aid those seeking refuge. Today’s funds represent a strong step in the right direction – which better recognizes and rewards New York City’s unique challenge,” they said. “There is more work ahead between both Houses of Congress that requires cooperation from and partnership with the GOP to produce the resources and policies our localities and state need to deal with this national issue.”

The latest allocation also far exceeds a prediction by Adams’ budget director, Jacques Jiha, who estimated last week that the city would only get 10% of the latest round of FEMA funds. Instead, the amount the city’s due to receive accounts for roughly 30% of the latest pot, according to a published report.

A council source said the amount Jiha cited was far lower than what federal officials told council leadership the city would be getting and that “there seems to be a disconnect there.” The source said that Jiha may have lowballed the estimate as a negotiating tactic.

“The amount comes out to around 30% of the total money being doled out right now,” they said. “Much more than the 10% Jiha was so confidently predicting.”

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