At a news conference yesterday, attended by Coalition's Mary Brosnahan, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and DHS Commissioner Robert Hess, the City announced that it would finally implement tougher guidelines for referring homeless adults to permanent housing.
The new guidelines mark a big success after over 2 years of our advocacy efforts. In 2008, Coalition's Lindsey Davis wrote a detailed report about the conditions of ¾ houses and the irresponsible practice of homeless shelters referring individuals to them.
The new guidelines comprise 2 parts. The first is a regulation that will be issued by the City to be implemented in the entire shelter system. This rule will prohibit City shelters from referring adults to buildings that have 1 or more occupancy-related violations in the last 2 years. These violations are documented on the Department of Buildings website.
The second part of the new guidelines is a pilot project implemented in about 1/3 of the system that will prohibit referrals to buildings with complaints regarding occupancy. This guideline is based on the fact that many complaints go unverified when Department of Buildings' inspectors are denied access into the buildings. This will add an even tighter protection for homeless adults.
Overall, the new rules will put in long-overdue protections for homeless adults in the New York City shelter system and ensure that these individuals do not end up back in shelter.
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