The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: New York City’s Right To Shelter

Mayor Eric Adams is asking courts to weaken the only guaranteed right to shelter law in the country.

(Photo by MTA / CC BY 2.0)

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Mayor Adams Asks Court To Suspend Right To Shelter

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams asked a court to suspend a right to shelter law that has since 1981 mandated the city provide shelter to anyone without a home, NBC News reports. The move is a response to an influx of asylum seekers to the city. Adams says 65,000 people have arrived in the past year and that the city is currently sheltering 44,000 of them. The 1981 consent decree was the result of a lawsuit filed against Mayor Ed Koch’s administration.

In a statement, the mayor said he was asking for “clarity” from the court. He noted that he didn’t wish to permanently end the law and that it was “in the best interest of everyone” to suspend the law, although the court filing and comments from a city attorney suggest his goal is to permanently dilute the requirement. An attorney who filed the original lawsuit told Gothamist mayor’s move was “shameful” and “cowardly.” The mayor already announced a May 10 executive order loosening some regulations stemming from the court decision.

Adams says that the city’s shelter system is overwhelmed by the influx of asylum seekers. But the city does still have ample space in hotels and motels, according to a New York Times report.

“Climate Reparations” Report Attributes $70 Trillion In Damages To Fossil Fuel Companies

It’s hard to estimate how much money fossil fuel companies should pay out to the people who’ve been impacted by years of suppressed research and carbon emissions, but it doesn’t hurt to try. In a report in the journal One Earth, researchers calculated the impact of the 21 largest fossil fuel companies in terms of carbon emissions between 1988 (the year the IPCC was established) and 2022 and the fiscal impact to countries across the world.

The report estimates that total loss of GDP across the globe between 2025 and 2050 as a result of climate change would total $99 trillion if temperatures rise by 3 degrees Celsius, and $70 trillion of that can be attributed to fossil fuel companies. Under the report’s plan for climate annual payments over 25 years, fossil fuel companies would pay the following amounts each year:

  • ExxonMobil: $18.4 billion

  • Shell: $16.3 billion

  • BP: $14 billion

  • Chevron: $12.8 billion

Experts told The Guardian that the estimate could help ongoing negotiations over a “loss and damage” climate financing fund meant to aid poorer nations that are bearing the brunt of climate change, as well as provide evidence for ongoing lawsuits against fossil fuel companies.

Payroll Tax For MTA Puts Greater Burden On Workers of Color

A payroll tax exemption for the suburbs in the recent New York state budget disproportionately leaves New York City residents on the hook for transit services benefiting the suburbs, according to Streetsblog. Citing an analysis from the Fiscal Policy Institute, the outlet says that a recently-negotiated increase to the payroll mobility tax that was to be imposed on every company in the MTA’s service area with a payroll above $437,500 will not be imposed on the Hudson Valley region or suburban Long Island.

While suburban legislators argued that their constituents do not use MTA services, the new tax increase will also benefit the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, which serve Long Island, the Hudson Valley and upstate New York. The suburban exemption means the burden falls mainly on Black, Latino and Asian workers, since the city’s population is 36% white, whereas the suburban population is 61% white.

New York City Library Heads Say Weekend Service Is Still On The Cutting Block

New York City’s libraries previously said that across the board budget cuts from the Adams administration would shutter weekend service, but that cloud seemed to lift when the mayor walked back the most severe of his proposed cuts.

But leaders in the library system are saying the $36 million cuts that are still on the table could end Sunday service at some locations. The cuts would force the libraries to leave some positions vacant, Gothamist reports, as well as threaten mobile libraries.

Republican Demands In Debt Limit Fight Would Not Curb Federal Spending, Would Hurt Crucial Services

The New York Times reports that current negotiations over the debt limit will have little impact over long-term spending increases, which are mostly driven by social security and Medicare.

Because those programs are popular, Republicans have instead tried to address “non-discretionary military spending” in areas like education, child care, environmental protection and veterans’ services, areas that were already projected to shrink as a percentage of the economy over the next 10 years. But the cuts would have an outsize impact on people who rely on those programs, as their funding could be peeled back by up to 30%.

Curated by Deonna Anderson


  • A look at Norway’s early EV adoption. Nearly 80% of all cars sold in the country are battery-powered. KCRW (Bonus: Check out a similar story we ran on Next City.)

  • A new study finds that, despite their cost and other drawbacks, curbside recycling programs can help small cities reach their climate goals. Grist

  • The Decolonizing Wealth Project has partnered with IllumiNative to launch the National Truth & Healing Fund, which is dedicated to addressing the painful legacy of Native American boarding schools. Learn more here.


  • As Habitat for Humanity celebrates its one-year anniversary of its Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative, the organization is hosting a virtual panel and discussion on the intergenerational racial wealth gap and housing equity. June 2 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Learn more and register here!

  • Plus, check out Next City’s upcoming events here.

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: transportation spendinghomelessnesslibraries

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