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Change for the Homeless
November 4th, 2011

Advocates for the homeless and some City Council members are reacting with alarm to reports that the city will institute a policy later this month that will make it more difficult for single adults to gain admission to city shelters.

According to WNBC, which first
reported on the move, workers will subject people applying to stay in shelters to more questions about where they have lived recently and whether they have another place to stay. This could create a problem for someone who, say, lost her apartment, doubled up with a sister for a short time and then was asked to leave.

The move apparently an effort to save money has been in the works for a while but needed state approval. City officials told NBC they received the OK yesterday. The city already conducts similar reviews for homeless families.

Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told Reuters that many people applying to shelters these days may have other options. They include, he said, “a lot of people who are working or capable of work, who may have gone through a little bit of a rough time — their employer may have reduced their hours, or they may have lost their jobs.”

But advocates dispute such arguments. “The city is playing with fire by implementing this policy, particularly in the winter,” Steven Banks of the Legal Aid Society told WNBC. “It’s certainly going to result in vulnerable New Yorkers ending up on the streets. He said the society would go to court to try and block the change.

Earlier today, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and General Welfare Committee chair Annabel Palma. Issued a statement condemning the move. “This policy is cruel, risky, unacceptable and will not reduce homelessness in the city of New York. Denying people shelter because they have found another option for some period of time is punishing people for trying to do the right thing,” they said.

The council will hold an emergency oversight hearing on the policy at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
By on November 4, 2011, 3:28 pm
In category: City Hall,Gotham City,Housing,Social Services | 4 Comments »

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