anti-homeless editorial: At Last, Rules For The Homeless FWD

Tom Boland (
Mon, 3 Aug 1998 19:14:59 -0700 (PDT)
FWD  New York Post EDITORIAL -- August 2, 1998


Two years after they were first enacted, City Hall has
finally been cleared to start enforcing tough state rules -
rules allowing homeless people who refuse to abide by a
few reasonable and humane requirements to be evicted
from shelters.

A five-judge Appellate Division panel unanimously
dismissed complaints against regulations promulgated in
1996 by Gov. Pataki and the state Department of Social
Services. These established, for the first time, eligibility
standards and requirements for those allowed into
homeless shelters.

The rules are pretty simple: Officials can eject from a
shelter for 30 days or longer any homeless person who
twice willfully refuses to attend drug-treatment or
job-training programs, who refuses to keep children in
school or who refuses to search for permanent housing.

Predictably, Legal Aid Society lawyers immediately filed
suit to block the regulations, calling them "vindictive."

Now the Appellate Division has thrown out the case,
calling the state rules "rationally related" to the "legitimate
objective" of ensuring that "temporary housing resources
are not squandered on those having no real need of

Just how common-sense are these regulations? Well,
even Judge Chihuahua herself - Helen Freedman, the
state Supreme Court Justice who has seemingly dedicated
her life to advancing the proposition that City Hall owes a
taxpayer-funded apartment to anybody who demands one
- upheld their validity. In toto. That's like Hillary Clinton
nominating one of Ken Starr's legal briefs for a Pulitzer

Although they've been state policy for two years now,
the DSS regulations have never been enforced in the five
boroughs - unlike every other municipality in New York.
That's because City Hall agreed to hold off any evictions
while the Legal Aid lawsuit was being litigated. (That
sure doesn't sound vindictive to us.)

But thanks to Presiding Justice Alfred Lerner & Co., the
legal circus has almost certainly drawn to a close. Which
means that it should now be crystal clear to all - including
the homeless and their advocates - that City Hall is no
longer in the free-lunch business.

In short, those receiving taxpayer-funded largess have to
meet some basic personal responsibilities.

It's about time.


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