Skip to main content


NYC Mayor Eric Adams reverses 'luxury' shelter plan for migrants

In an unexpected twist, New York Mayor Eric Adams has reversed his plan to convert an abandoned luxury apartment complex in Harlem into a haven for illegal migrants, bowing to outrage from the local community

Alcalde de NYC en medio de críticas
Erick Adams | Shutterstock

February 20, 2024 8:31am

Updated: February 22, 2024 9:47am

In an unexpected twist, New York Mayor Eric Adams has reversed his plan to convert an abandoned 'luxury apartment complex' in Harlem into a haven for illegal immigrants, bowing to outrage from the local community.

The mayor's decision comes after he appeared last week at a community meeting, where dozens of residents openly expressed their anger over the proposal to transform the 35-story building, empty for a decade, into a homeless shelter, which would potentially harbor illegal immigrants.

According to CBS News reports, neighbors were unaware of any plans for the building until they saw boxes of bunk beds being loaded last week.

That's when Adams took matters into his own hands, stating: “I told the team, 'Find out what's going on here. We're not going to move people into a new building when there are long-term needs in a community. That's not going to happen.' They will not have migrants or asylum seekers on that property.”

A spokesperson for the city's Department of Social Services clarified that the property will now “serve as high-quality transitional housing for New York families with children experiencing long-term homelessness.”

However, it has not been specified when the shelter is expected to open its doors.

Despite this change of plans, some residents continue to express their discontent. Harlem resident Regina Smith said, “We have too many homeless shelters in this community.”

She would prefer to see the building converted to affordable housing, since 44% of households in the neighborhood have high rental costs, meaning their tenants spend more than a third of their income on rent.

“We lack affordable housing we are being pushed out of the community... The lack of respect is absolutely outrageous,” Smith added.

For her part, Leslie Johnson, another resident, lamented: “These apartments could be for us.”

The luxury building, which features an indoor pool and apartments with granite countertops in the kitchens and marble in the bathrooms, was abandoned after the developers defaulted on loans, according to state records.

New York City has faced a recent influx of undocumented immigrants, prompting Adams to warn last fall that the “problem will destroy New York.”

The housing crisis and migratory pressure have put the mayor's initial plans in check, forcing him to recalibrate his approach and look for solutions that satisfy both the needs of the vulnerable population and the demands of local residents.