Mayor Adams Admin Launches RFP To Cut Costs Of Hosting Asylum Seekers

June 18, 2024

 NYC Mayor Eric Adams today released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for companies and organizations to provide shelter and shelter-related services in response to the asylum seeker crisis.

The RFP seeks to solicit a range of vendors to support the next phase of the “Asylee Flex” program, ensuring continuity of operations and enabling the city to find additional efficiencies and reduce costs while diversifying vendors and subcontractors through the competitive bidding process. The administration has already saved nearly $2 billion in asylum seeker spending by helping put migrants on a path to self-sufficiency with intensified case management while still reducing the household per-diem costs of providing care.

“… nearly $2 billion in cost savings …”

“Since April 2022, more than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers have come to our city, seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones and needing our care,” said Mayor Adams. “We’ve put care and compassion first throughout our response, and, as a result, no families with children have been forced to sleep on our streets — an incredible accomplishment and a testament to the hardworking public servants, contractors, and community-based organizations that are on the ground managing this crisis. We have also been managing the fiscal impact of this crisis, having already achieved nearly $2 billion in cost savings thanks to the creative thinking of our dedicated workforce. The RFP we’re putting out today will help us find even more savings, making sure we get the most out of every taxpayer dollar.”

“As we face the ongoing challenge of providing critical shelter and services to asylum seekers, the release of this RFP will bolster our ‘Asylee Flex’ program and help deliver compassionate care in a cost-effective manner,” said Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack. “By diversifying vendors and subcontractors through this process, we not only ensure continuity and efficiency but also reaffirm our commitment to fiscal responsibility. This initiative will enable us to meet the evolving needs of the thousands of people in our care while optimizing resources to deliver essential support to those seeking refuge in our city.”

“… allocating resources to find additional cost savings and process improvements.”

“Since the beginning of this global humanitarian crisis, we have acted to do our part providing shelter, food, health care, and a range of other services and supports to individuals and families seeking asylum in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “All along the way, we have tried to find efficiencies and move toward a response that is more sustainable. This RFP will allow us to take a wider look at providers in this space and continue to evaluate how we are allocating resources to find additional cost savings and process improvements.”

Since May 2023, the city augmented its response to the influx of arriving asylum seekers with the addition of the “Asylee Flex” program, which quickly added scalable, cost-effective, humanitarian site inventory and services across multiple hotels in New York City and certain counties upstate. The program has been operating for 10 months and currently serves thousands of migrants across 26 hotel sites, including approximately 2,400 migrants across 13 sites in New York City, and 1,600 migrants in 13 sites located upstate. Most of the current program participants are families with children who are enrolled in local school districts and connected with local resources.

The new RFP requires potential vendors to submit executive summaries of their qualifications, detailed plans of action, references, and budget proposals, including detailed pricing information on staff members, shelter locations, and operations. It also includes a 30 percent minority- and women-owned business enterprise subcontractor utilization goal. The proposals will be evaluated for cost, experience, proposed approach, and organizational capacity, and awarded contracts will be for up to one year in length.

The selected vendor, or vendors, will be expected to provide services at existing sites, and possibly additional sites as directed by the city. The scope of work includes managing relationships with hotels, engaging with and maintaining open lines of communication with key stakeholders, as well as providing shelter, food, housekeeping, security, case management, laundry, and the coordination of additional services with no additional fee including legal, reconnection, travel, education, and donations.

“… more than 203,000 migrants and asylum seekers …”

Since this asylum seeker humanitarian crisis began, New York City has taken fast and urgent action — caring for more than 203,000 migrants and asylum seekers and opening more than 200 emergency shelters to provide a roof over their heads. The city has also stood up navigation centers to connect asylum seekers with critical resources; enrolled tens of thousands of children in public schools through Project Open Arms; and launched the Asylum Application Help Center, which has already helped submit more than 55,000 applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status. Last August, Mayor Adams hosted “The American Dream Works” — a rally with hundreds of asylum seekers, union members, business leaders, and elected officials calling for expanded work authorization for asylum seekers. Last year, the city released “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis,” detailing how the city will continue to manage the influx of asylum seekers and advocate for support from federal and state partners.

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