Joint Statement from Legal Aid, Coalition for the Homeless in Response to a Report on the City’s 60-Day Rule for Shelter Residents

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless issued the following joint statement in response to a report on the City’s new 60-day rule for shelter residents:

“This new policy raises many questions and concerns that the City has yet to address. It is also unclear whether State officials have provided any input on what the City proposes to implement.

“As prescribed by the New York State Constitution, multiple court orders and local laws, both the State and the City have a legal obligation to ensure that people who lack shelter are safe and secure, and protected from exposure to the elements.

“Rather than limiting shelter stays, the City should implement policies to address the need for shelter capacity by:

  • supporting the full implementation of the recently passed reforms to CityFHEPS;
  • correcting understaffing of City offices charged with processing subsidies that enable households to move from shelter to permanent housing;
  • expanding CityFHEPS to more New Yorkers than those served by the current narrow definition;
  • spending funds already appropriated through the nearly $200 million in New York State’s Rent Supplement Program to move long-staying families who are currently residing in New York City Department of Homelessness’ shelters to permanent housing;
  • rebuilding the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Income Discrimination Unit to hold landlords, real estate agents, and brokerage agents accountable for unlawfully denying placements to housing voucher holders;
  • expanding the City’s shelter capacity by not canceling or delaying planned shelter openings; and
  • training all local shelter providers on how to screen for benefits and employment eligibility.

“Lastly, the Federal Government can and should provide increased funding to the City to meet this moment and grant immediate work authorization for the many new arrivals in desperate need of a job.

“We are still reviewing this policy and its legality, and expect to have more to say on the matter at that time.”