NEW YORK — The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless agree to sue New York City for breaking the law after at least five dozen people were denied beds at a homelessness center. shelter for the homeless.
As CBS2’s Alecia Reid reports, everyone is entitled to guaranteed shelter in New York City, but the Department of Homeless Services failed to meet its obligation on Monday night as at least 60 men were denied shelters. beds in a Manhattan drop-in center. The Department of Homeless Services held a closed meeting on Tuesday to discuss why this happened.
The Legal Aid Society says DHS told them beds were available, but there was an operational issue.
“New York City failed to find a bed for people who needed it,” said Joshua Goldfein of the Legal Aid Society.
On Tuesday, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless alerted DHS that they will take legal action if the city fails to comply with the law. DHS said Legal Aid Society beds were available, but an administrative error showed otherwise. It’s not the first time this has happened.
“We see single adults all the time being assigned a bed and being taken to bed, and then it turns out at the shelter they’ll say, sorry, there’s no room here tonight, and then they will have to scramble to find a different bed for that person,” Goldfein said.
Lenorza Evans, a homeless veteran, says she’s been denied a bed before.
“It’s a shame. People are being murdered in the street. You’re scared,” he said.
Some of the men who were refused beds were recent migrants sent to New York on buses.
“They come here with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They really want to get down to business. They want to get on with their lives,” Goldfein said.
Beginning Tuesday’s meeting, the Legal Aid Society said DHS plans to add 100 beds to a hotel they already use, will add another 200 by temporarily converting a women’s shelter with extra beds into a women’s shelter. men and adding hundreds of emergency beds to existing sites.
But Goldfein says a long-term solution is needed.
“The city could create space by moving people who are already sheltered into permanent housing, and then they would have more units that they could use and they wouldn’t face this crisis where they run out of beds,” he said. .
This is not the first time the Legal Aid Society has threatened to sue the city. They sued in 2009 and won, leading DHS to add 1,000 beds to its shelter system.
CBS2 has contacted DHS for comment. At this time, we have had no news.