On the heels of news that Mayor Eric Adams is looking to possibly house migrants outside, dozens of New Yorkers and advocates protested outside of his Fort Lee, New Jersey co-op that he owns with his longtime partner.

“When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back! When housing rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” advocates chanted outside the building where Adams owns a co-op.

What You Need To Know

  • Homeless and immigrant advocates rallied outside of Mayor Eric Adams' New Jersey condo on Thursday, calling on him to stop pushing to suspend the right-to-shelter law

  • Advocates argued that any change to the mandate will cause irreparable harm to new arrivals and vulnerable New Yorkers

  • One advocate suggested it might be an effort by Adams to show the magnitude of the crisis versus actual policy

The city has been in courts for months, looking to suspend the longstanding consent decree that requires the city to provide a bed to anyone in need. The city argues it cannot sustain housing every new arrival under the law.

“For him to go ahead and suspend the right-to-shelter, which is going to turn New York City into a tent city. We are here to say no Eric Adams. Migrants, immigrants are human beings,” said James Inniss, public safety advocate for New York Communities for Change.

The rally comes just a day after reports emerged that Adams is floating the idea of possibly giving arriving migrants tents to sleep in.  

In a statement, City Hall Deputy Press Secretary Kayla Mamelak said, “All options are on the table.”

The controversial idea comes as the mayor has been emphasizing that the city is past its breaking point housing asylum seekers. About 4,000 migrants have been arriving weekly, according to officials.

Adams reiterated that warning Tuesday.

“I cannot say this enough. You know, we are out of the room. And it’s not ‘if’ people will be sleeping on the streets, it’s when,” Adams said on Tuesday at his weekly off-topic briefing.

At that same press conference, Adams noted that the city is looking at alternative and arguably controversial new ways of housing migrants.

“Yeah, outdoor spaces. Whatever space we can find. When you run out of space, whatever space you can find, we’re going to use and we want to do it as humane as possible,” he said. “Believe or not, tents are costly also. Tents are costly, everything is costly.”

Adams said his administration is in talks with other countries on how best to provide services to migrants when they start sleeping in the streets.

“We have to make sure that people have some type of restroom facilities, some type of shower. This is brand new. I’ve been having a series of meetings with those in other countries on how do you not deal with the sanitary issues that come with it,” he added on Tuesday.

However, advocates have denounced the idea, saying it runs afoul of the city’s mandate to provide help.

“The mayor might need to be reminded that the city still has the legal obligation,” said David Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, the organization that represented the original plaintiff in the case. “The right to shelter was established 42 years ago. And when it was established back in 1981, it was done so in recognition that its dangerous to sleep outside exposed to the elements.”

Giffen suggested it might be an effort by Adams to show the magnitude of the crisis versus actual policy.

“This is some kind of stunt the mayor is pulling to think he can just hand out tents and that’s an adequate solution to the crisis,” Giffen said.