NBC New York
The prospect of a showdown in court between the mayor and the City Council over the Bloomberg's administration's homeless police looms. Melissa Russo reports.
The City Council is preparing to go to court over a controversial new Bloomberg administration homeless policy that would require adults seeking shelter to prove they have no other options.
Now, NBC New York has learned that Council Speaker Christine Quinn has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, where councilmembers will vote on whether to authorize a lawsuit against the administration that would seek to block the policy, sources say.
The legal argument, sources say, is that the city did not follow procedure set forth in the City Charter for making such a policy change.
Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said his agency was transparent about the new policy and violated no laws.
"This is the right policy for taxpayers," he said. "People who have alternate places to stay are not homeless."
DHS officials had previously said the policy will save $4 million a year, reserving shelter space for people who truly need it.
Days after NBC New York reported the story, Quinn convened a hearing where she called the proposal "cruel" and "punitive."
Diamond said DHS told the Legal Aid Society about the new policy earlier. He also said the agency answered questions for several hours at the Council hearing.
Council sources tell NBC New York this is the first time the City Council has filed an independent lawsuit against the Bloomberg administration, but it is not the first legal challenge against the policy.
The Legal Aid Society has already asked a State Supreme Court judge who oversees city shelter policy to review the legality of the new plan.
Both sides are expected to submit written arguments and return to court Dec. 9 in that case.