Mayor Eric Adams is absolutely right: The right to shelter can’t be for everyone from everywhere at any time.
On Tuesday, he moved to suspend the Callahan consent decree — which created the right to temporary shelter — when the city hits its limits.
The unprecedented influx of 40,000-plus migrants, with thousands more on the way, has pushed the Big Apple’s shelter safety net to its breaking point.
“We’re unable to provide care for an unlimited number of people and are already overextended,” explained the mayor, so “it is in the best interest of everyone, including those seeking to come to the United States, to be upfront that New York City cannot single-handedly provide care to everyone crossing our border.”
That’s a more meaningful “don’t come” message than President Joe Biden has ever offered.
Of course, this first step is simply a petition to the court, and the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless will fight him every step of the way.
Yet the Callahan decree has burdened the city for over four decades, spawning a multibillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded industry (unlike any other city’s, anywhere) — and with any end to homelessness further than ever from sight.
It’s cried out for rethinking for at least 30 years. If there’s any silver lining to the city’s migrant crisis, it’s that it’s finally forcing the issue.
Suspension of the rules should open the door to junking Callahan completely, which of course is what the “advocates” most fear.
Yet New York City can continue to have a humane policy on homelessness without the straitjacket of a scheme created back in 1981.
It’s time to find a better way; it’d be hard to find a worse one.