Quinn Sues Bloomberg
November 29th, 2011
The New York City Council today will ratchet up its efforts to block the city’s proposed change in eligibility requirements for homeless shelters. At its meeting this afternoon, the council will take steps to file suit against the controversial change, which will require homeless adults seeking to enter the shelter system to prove they have no other place to go.
The suit is the first filed by the council against the Bloomberg administration since Christine Quinn, a frequent ally of the mayor, became speaker in 2006. In addition to highlighting the policy itself — which Quinn has called “inhumane” and “cruel” — the suit also takes aim at the way the city has attempted to implement the change. By most accounts, council members learned of the new rules through a report on WNBC less than two weeks before the change was to take effect.
“I cannot just turn away when it is clear the City of New York has not followed rule making requirements,” Quinn said.
The shift has come under sharp attack since it was announced earlier this month. While a similar policy exists for homeless families, council members and advocates note that homeless single adults are a far more vulnerable group — with high levels of substance abuse and mental illness. Under the change, these individuals would have to document any places they had stayed and show why they could not return to that bed. People would risk being denied a shelter slot if they had a relative with a spare bedroom — even if that relative refused to take them in.
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homless have already filed suit to block the change, prompting the Department of Homeless Services to postpone its implementation pending a court hearing. In addition, the state has raised serious concerns about the new policy and the city’s apparent rush to put it in place.
In the face of this, the city has stuck by the policy, saying it makes the best use of scarce resources.
“You’d rather not end up in court,” Quinn said yesterday. “We’ve exhausted our other options, and that’s why we’re here.”By Gail Robinson on November 29, 2011, 2:44 pm
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