City Can End Rent Subsidy for Former Homeless Families: Judge

New York City can stop paying rent for more than 16,000 families that were previously homeless, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The city was within its rights to cancel the so-called Advantage Program after losing state backing for the program, according to the Tuesday ruling.

“Because of the state's decision [to cut funding], the city would have to pay the full cost of Advantage on its own," said Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond, who noted putting families up in shelters was a less pricey option, "whereas shelter is a shared cost between the city, the state and the federal government."

The ruling, from state Supreme court Justice Judith Gische found that the city officials have no ongoing obligation, “contractual or otherwise,” to continue the program.

Advocates of the program fear the decision will put thousands back onto city streets in time for winter.

Steven Banks, chief attorney for the Legal Aid Society, sued the city on behalf of the Advantage Program recipients.

The Legal Aid Society said that appellate litigation will continue, and the city will have to keep paying the rental subsidies until that litigation moves through the court system.

With the Associated Press