Mother of Exiles

“The New Colossus”

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–87), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

the constitutional right to shelter exists in new york – something to be very proud of

In 1979 a lawyer named Robert Hayes, brought a class action lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against the City and State called Callahan v. Carey. Hayes argued a constitutional right to shelter existed in New York. In particular, the lawsuit pointed to Article XVII of the New York State Constitution –

ARTICLE XVII

Social Welfare

[Public relief and care]

Section 1.  The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions, and in such manner and by such means, as the legislature may from time to time determine.