New York, NY –
Starting today, homeless families can be evicted from city shelters for repeatedly breaking rules, like missing curfew or forgetting to sign in, or losing one's welfare benefits. Legal Aid Attorney Steven Banks says that's a problem, because people frequently have their cases closed by mistake.
BANKS: Those are the kinds of things that occur and as a result of the city's new plan and the state's 11th hour approval of it, we're going to see families and children suffer
But Robert Hess, the commissioner for homeless services, says the department's check and balance system will prevent anyone from losing shelter because of administrative errors. He says this new policy is really about encouraging families to find permanent homes.
HESS: We have had a small number of families that are using shelter more like permanent housing. So for those families, this will be yet another tool to help them focus on moving out of shelter and back into their own home as quickly as possible.
Last weekend, the city's shelter system hit a near-record high, with 9,720 families.