The city has spent more than $1 billion on the migrant crisis, and the costs are growing weekly.

But a group of religious leaders and housing advocates said they have one solution for cutting costs: housing more migrants in their churches.

What You Need To Know

  • A coalition of faith leaders and housing advocates want Mayor Eric Adams to partner with churches to open up 5,000 additional beds for migrants

  • The coalition said the beds are cost-effective at $74 a night versus the current average of $394 a month

  • Earlier this year, the city started a smaller partnership with the New York Disaster Interfaith Services organization that currently has two locations housing 38 migrants

  • More than 150,000 migrants have arrived, with more than 67,000 in the city's care, according to officials

The proposal comes months after the city launched a similar but smaller program over the summer with churches, synagogues and mosques across the city. The program currently houses 38 migrants.

“We know that if we organize together, we can respond to this current humanitarian crisis. No one can do it alone,” Bishop Matthew Heyd from the Episcopal Diocese of New York said.  

Under the proposal, the city would partner with additional churches to house up to 5,0000 single men at $74 a night.

As of August, the city spends an average of $394 per household per night, which includes food, shelter and security.

“If you do the math, the faith-based units will save the city $543 million. They’re also an amazing addition to the pipeline when you have people sleeping in front of the Roosevelt Hotel and cold weather coming. We need every unit we can get,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of WIN, one of the largest providers of shelter for families in the city.

The coalition also says the proposal would open up much needed space in the city’s shelter system for arriving families.

“We know the city is about to serve 60-day notices on some families requiring them to reapply for shelter. We know that process has been painful and disruptive,” said Ruth Messinger, global ambassador and former president and CEO of the American Jewish World Service.

A 60-day shelter rule for families was set to expire on Dec. 26 but has been extended to early January.

Overall, the city has given out 3,500 60-day notices to families with children.

In response, Kayla Mamelak, a deputy press secretary to Mayor Eric Adams, said the city is open to other options when it comes to housing asylum seekers.

“We are working to bring more interested houses of worship into full FDNY and DOB compliance as the safety of asylum seekers is always our top priority, while simultaneously streamlining the inspection process so more faith partners can play a role responding to this humanitarian crisis. We will continue to provide updates as available,” said Mamelak.

In a recent City Council hearing, Jacques Jiha, the city’s budget director, said one of the cost-saving measures the city is looking for is partnering more with nonprofit organizations instead of the for-profit companies they work with now.

“It’s also a way to make sure houses of worship have an opportunity to serve and are compensated for their costs and not by profit,” said Peter B. Gudaitis, executive director and CEO of the New York Disaster Interfaith Services.  

The city is facing a budget shortfall of $7 billion according to City Hall, who has blamed much of the fiscal problem on the influx of migrants.

More than 150,000 migrants have arrived in the city and more than 67,000 are in the city’s care, according to officials.