Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
New York City wants to know whether homeless prevention programs are serving the right people, so it's conducting a study that has some elected officials upset.
By providing rental assistance, job training and financial management, the programs are supposed to keep families out of shelters and in their own apartments. Each year about 7,900 households are served at a cost of $23 million. The programs started in 2004 and recently they were expanded with federal stimulus money.
The city says the study will help determine if the services are targeting people truly at risk of homelessness. Homeless Services says it obtained signed consent forms from 400 families who will take part. Half will be in a control group that won't have access to the programs while the other half will. Homeless Services says the control group will be given a list of other services providers such as Legal Aid. At the end of two years, researchers will look at how each family fared. Some city council members consider the study cruel and a hearing is scheduled for December.