A proposal by New York City’s Department of Homeless Services aims to free up space in local homeless shelters by sending single adults back to the last place they lived, lest they risk being forcibly removed from shelters. If there’s a problem with space at the person’s previous location, the DHS will provide furniture or even help rearrange the space to create more room. “There are modest changes that can be made to the layout of an apartment to accommodate another single,” said DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond. “We think that that’s appropriate.” The City Council and Legal Aid Society of New York are suing the city over what they call a “dangerous” and “misguided” plan.
The Daily News reports:
Under the policy, tenants evicted by their landlords would not be eligible for shelters until a sheriff or marshal booted them.
“If the housing is still available, the applicant will be expected to retrieve their previously submitted keys from the landlord,” the policy states.
The city would also deny shelter even when a friend or family member decides the person can’t live with them anymore. Shelter applicants who can’t provide documents proving they are homeless would also be ineligible.
City Council speaker Christine Quinn said, “I’m confident that the courts will rule in our favor and that the administration ultimately will be forced to abandon this irresponsible policy.” A representative from the Coalition for the Homeless added, “It basically creates a mechanism for the city to deny shelter to people even when they have no place to go.”
But Diamond insisted, “The objective is to reserve shelter space for people who have no other options.”