City Delays New, Controversial Homeless Policy

Policy would require adults seeking space in homeless shelters to prove they have no other options.

New York City has postponed plans to launch a new eligibility policy for single adults seeking entry into its homeless shelters.      

The program, which would require adults seeking space in shelters to prove they have no other options, was first reported by NBC New York last week. City councilmembers blasted it as "arrogant."

The Bloomberg administration pre-emptively postponed the plan because of the possibility of a state judge issuing a preliminary injunction. It had been scheduled to launch Monday, but the city agreed to delay it to give the court time to review the matter following a challenge from the Legal Aid Society.      

Both sides are expected to submit written arguments and return to court Dec. 9.

Department of Homeless Services officials had said the policy will save $4 million a year, reserving shelter space for people who truly need it.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who chooses her battles with Mayor Bloomberg carefully, said at a hearing this week that the new policy "amounts to harassment."

Quinn said she was angry that she found out about this major policy shift, and said the Bloomberg administration never consulted the council.

DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond said 60 percent of the people coming into the single-adult shelters have been living with someone else.

"People who have another housing option are not homeless," Diamond said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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