homelessness Tag All blog entries tagged as homelessness http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Tue, 25 Mar 2014 21:19:25 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Court Says #Sandy Evacuees Can Stay In Hotels Until Mid-May http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/01/court-says-sandy-evacuees-can-stay-in-hotels-until-mid-may http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/01/court-says-sandy-evacuees-can-stay-in-hotels-until-mid-may A Manhattan judge has ruled that hundreds of Sandy evacuees currently living in hotel rooms paid for by the city can stay until at least mid-May.

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After meeting with attorneys in chambers for almost 30 minutes, Judge Margaret Chan announced today that the 365 Sandy evacuees with no current housing alternatives can stay in the hotel rooms until May 15.

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The city's Law Department said that the city had spent close to $60 million on helping households transition into stable living arrangements. Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told reporters last week that the hotel program had cost the city $40 million.

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"We are gratified" the Law Department's Thomas Crain wrote in a statement late today, "that the court has agreed to hear and decide the matter promptly. We believe the court will ultimately find that the city's response has been completely proper."

Yesterday, the city argued that a temporary restraining order was filed without proper notification. The city said that it did not review the filing until late in the evening. Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society, which is representing five of the Sandy evacuees in the case, said that they gave the city notice on Tuesday morning.

The city argues that the city has provided more than enough resources for all Sandy evacuees that used the hotel program, including those have been unable to secure housing after the intially planned eviction date at the end of April.

The judge said she would hear oral arguments in the case on May 13.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 01 May 2013 22:48:35 +0000
#Sandy Evacuees Living In Hotels Get Court Hearing http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/30/sandy-evacuees-living-in-hotels-get-court-hearing http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/30/sandy-evacuees-living-in-hotels-get-court-hearing Hundreds of displaced Superstorm Sandy victims are safe from eviction from dozens of hotels paid for by the city — at least until tomorrow afternoon.

A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments tomorrow from the city and attorneys representing five evacuees who face eviction from the city's hotel program, which was supposed to terminate at the end of April .

While the city said on Monday night that the restraining order wasn't properly processed, the evacuees housed in any of the more the 50 hotels citywide can count on at least one more night.

Arguing on behalf of the five evacuees, the Legal Aid Society says that the city needs to secure an extension for those New Yorkers with no other housing options, which includes at least 125 households.

During a City Council hearing last Friday, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told Council members that another 71 households rejected the options given to them by DHS and its hired caseworkers.

One of the many Sandy evacuees at Friday's hearing told Gotham Gazette today that she got a letter from DHS on Saturday telling her that she and her family could stay until May 31. Cherell Manuel said that she didn't know how many of her fellow evacuees at the Park Central hotel recieved a similar notice.

Manuel, a mother of four children with the youngest aged 7, said she was relieved that she didn't have to leave the hotel tonight. Even so, she's ready to move on.

"I'm praying that I can find something becuase I'm really tired of living in a hotel," Manuel said.

While she isn't one of the five evacuees named in the lawsuit against the city, more than 300 other New Yorkers might be saved from dropping out of the hotel program if the court decides in their favor.

Legal Aid Society attorney Judith Goldiner said that the goal is to secure the same temproary housing that the evacuees have counted on until they can transition back into their own stable housing.

"Nothing is standing in the city's way from making appropriate, long-term opportunities available for Sandy evacuees," Goldiner said.

In a statement, DHS spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio called the city's hotel program "generous, intensive and unprecedented," having served more than 1,500 households over the last six months.

She added that the department was also willng to provide financial support by way of brokers fees, security deposits, first month’s rent and furniture funding. Those evacuees that would have been evicted tonight, Brancaccio said, will either rely on their families or on the ctiy's social services programs.

"Although vast, this was a finite program and was never intended to be open-ended," Brancaccio wrote.

Tomorrow's hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Manhattan Supreme Court.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 30 Apr 2013 21:14:02 +0000
#Sandy Evacuees Sue To Stay In Hotels (UPDATED) http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/29/sandy-evacuees-sue-to-stay-in-hotels http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/29/sandy-evacuees-sue-to-stay-in-hotels

A group of evacuees left homeless by Superstorm Sandy are suing to stay in hotels that the city says they need to leave by tomorrow.

Six months to the day that Sandy hit New York City, five individuals filed a lawsuit today to prevent the city from following through with its deadline to end its temporary hotel program for Sandy victims.

Calling the city's deadlines "arbitrary," the suit seeks to force the city to keep paying for hotels until the residents can secure permanent housing. The lawsuit also says that the city's evictions notices were served without a fair hearing, which attorneys say does not comply with federal and state law.

"They have attempted to use whatever resources have been made available to them," said the complaint, "but have been stymied by poor case work, a lack of adequate housing resources and the failure of government agencies to timely implement forthcoming federally-funded housing resources."

The news came on the heels of a rally held in front of City Hall today, where a range of labor, faith and reform groups asked the city to extend the hotel deadline. They also called on the city to address the invasive mold problem in afflicted housing and properly track how the city spends money devoted to Sandy recovery.

Council members Donovan Richards and Brad Lander introduced a bill last week that would track how the government spends Sandy relief funds, including the $1.77 billion the city expects to received through the community development block grant.

"The City Council legislation we're unveiling today will help track how recovery dollars are spent, and ensure that new jobs created as part of the rebuilding process are good jobs for families and households hit hardest by Sandy," Richards said today. "Residents who are still struggling to pick up the pieces six months after Sandy deserve to know that the city is actually investing in their recovery."

Nathalie Alegre of the Alliance for a Greater New York said that the organizations gathered — including members from 32BJ, VOCAL-NY, Good Jobs New York and Faith in NY — were there to ask the city to help the communities still most in need after last year's devastating storm.

"The reality is that the communities hardest hit, particularly low-income communities of color, continue to struggle," she said.

Allison Puglisi, 46, lived in Staten Island's South Beach neighborhood before Sandy and mold forced her out of her home. Currently living in a hotel, Puglisi said she knows that many of those in her hotel are being forced out tomorrow despite what she called a humanitarian need.

"I've lived here my whole life," Puglisi said. "This is supposed to be the greatest city in the world, and I don't understand this."

UPDATE: Thomas Crane of NYC's Law Department provived a statement that the city "made heroic efforts after Hurricane Sandy" and that the "complaint is without merit."

While the city said that it had not been served by late Monday, Crane also wrote that a restraining order preventing the evacuee's eviction signed by the New York State Supreme Court violated the law. The administration, he said, should have received notice before the order was entered.

"We will be in court tomorrow morning to vigorously challenge it," Crane wrote.

UPDATE 2: Councilwoman Annabel Palma, chair of the Council's general welfare committee, released a statement restraining order on Monday night.

“Today's ruling is a welcome relief to the hundreds of families living in hotels who cannot afford to have their lives uprooted once again," she wrote. "But it should not have come to this; New Yorkers should know that they will not be abandoned by the city in time of great need."

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 29 Apr 2013 21:20:55 +0000
Bloomberg Won't Take Blame For Record Homelessness http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/05/bloomberg-wont-take-blame-for-record-homelessness http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/05/bloomberg-wont-take-blame-for-record-homelessness

Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't dispute a recent report that homelessness has hit a high not seen in decades — with over 50,000 people a night staying in the city's shelters — but he refuses to accept criticism that his administration has failed to tackle the problem.

Instead, he says the state cut the key Advantage rent subsidy program, and that the Coalition for the Homeless, which released the report, backed that decision.

Capital New York reports that Bloomberg said this at a news conference earlier today:

We are having fewer people coming into the homeless system .... They are staying longer. Why? Because the state cut the Advantage program out. When they cut their money out, we also lost the federal monies. Without those subsidies, people don't move out. So if you want to reduce the population, you've gotta go and get those monies back. Keep in mind, it was the Coalition [for] the Homeless that wanted to kill that program and hurt the people in the shelters. So it's a little bit disingenuous for them to start talking about it.

Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless, responded in a statement:

Rather than taking responsibility for his Administration's failure, Mayor Bloomberg continues to blame everyone else for record homelessness in NYC. Today, he blames the State and, ludicrously, the Coalition for the Homeless, for ending Advantage – even though Advantage families were returning to shelter in record numbers. Last week, he blamed mentally-ill men and women suffering on our streets for not wanting help – even though he’s still in court trying to make it more difficult for them to get into emergency shelter. He blames homeless families for trying to game the system – even though they clearly have nowhere else to turn.

The report also found that child homelessness is increasing, with over 21,000 children staying in shelters a night; that the length of stay in shelters for families is now over a year long; and that the number single adults in the shelter system is at a near record high.

Read the full report here.

Image of Bloomberg at today's news conference courtesy of the mayor's office.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 05 Mar 2013 22:00:05 +0000