Statement from the Coalition for the Homeless on the City’s New Homeless Shelter Eligibility Policy

For Immediate Release: November 4, 2011
Contact: Dan Levitan (646) 200-5315

STATEMENT FROM COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS ON CITY'S NEW HOMELESS SHELTER ELIGIBILITY POLICY

The following statement can be attributed to Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless:

The Bloomberg administration's dangerous and inhumane new rules will result in more people sleeping on the streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces -- just as winter is approaching.

The proposed rule change for homeless single adults largely copies the shelter system's current disastrous policy of turning away record numbers of homeless families at the shelter door, even in the midst of a bleak economy. The City's own data show that nearly half of the families ultimately deemed eligible for shelter were first turned away - and put at great risk - by the Department of Homeless Services.

But the impact of the new rules for homeless individuals is likely to be even worse. Homeless single adults are more likely to suffer from mental illness and other health problems, less able to navigate the city's inefficient and bureaucratic shelter rules, and more likely to end up on street when turned away by the City.

Last night's announcement is an admission of failure. Mayor Bloomberg has failed to move homeless families and individuals out of the shelter system and into stable housing, and failed to prevent thousands of New Yorkers from becoming homeless. The result is record homelessness and a shelter system at the breaking point.

Instead of leaving homeless New Yorkers out in the cold, the City must return to the proven and cost-effective policy used by previous New York City mayors of providing homeless families and individuals with affordable housing assistance.