West Side Rag »City stops moving people from homeless hotels to shelters after legal aid retrial
Posted on July 11, 2021 at 9:07 am by Carol Tannenhauser
By Carol Tannenhauser
The city stopped transferring the homeless to assembly shelters from the commercial hotels they stayed in during the pandemic, until a motion filed by the Legal Aid Society is decided in court on Tuesday, according to Joshua Goldfein, a staff attorney for Legal Aid.
Collective shelters typically house 10 to 20 people in a room, depending on The New York Times.
Transfers started this month. Legal Aid maintains that the manner in which they were executed “violated a permanent court order requiring the city to include people with disabilities in the accommodation system,” Goldfein said. “About two-thirds of single adults in the shelter system have a disability that should be considered in placement. The point of the business is not to keep hotels open forever. It just means that the Department of Homelessness Services (DHS) has to go back and look at cases and make sure it places people in environments that are right for them. “
Isaac McGinn, spokesperson for DHS, said 23 of the more than 60 hotels had already been emptied. “We will look into the specific allegations and related cases referenced in the lawsuit,” he said in an email. “That said, we have developed a comprehensive reasonable accommodation process, which has been agreed to in a court settlement, giving suppliers and clients advance notice before moves – including in May – so that clients can work with suppliers. to request accommodations if necessary.
For some reason Brian Lucas did not get housing. “I feel a little bad about moving,” he said, as he got ready to board a bus outside The Lucerne last week. Because we’re going back to the shelter. We’re going to be right next to the people. I have been here for a year already and I do not have my accommodation. I’m disabled. I can not work. I don’t really know what’s holding him back.
About 8,000 people were moved to hotels across the city when the lockdown began in the spring of 2020, in a bid to protect them from the coronavirus and avoid any potential super-spreading situation. A month ago, when the CDC lifted COVID restrictions, the mayor announced, “It’s time to bring homeless people who were in hotels for a temporary period back to shelters where they can get the support they want. need. “
Homeless people and advocates say this is premature, given the onset of the Delta variant, and the fact that the percentage of homeless people vaccinated is not known, but estimated to be low, around 21.5%, depending on City limits.
Goldfein says the moves were implemented “in a hurry” and isn’t shy about pointing fingers. “There was only one person in a hurry here, and that is the mayor. I think he wanted to put on a parade, and he wanted to say it was over, and he wanted to get people out of hotels, because – as you saw on the Upper West Side – a lot of people are calling the town hall and complain. “
The pause in movement came too late for the men staying at the Lucerne and Belnord Hotel, who were moved to assembly shelters last week. The men and women of the Belleclaire Hotel, on West 77th Street and Broadway, have yet to be moved, and Goldfein said: “the program is on hold at this time.”