Judges Block NYC Homeless Plan

Grassroots Media Network (gnn@grassrootsnews.org)
Wed, 08 Dec 1999 22:38:15 -0600


Judges Block NYC Homeless Plan

NEW YORK (AP) -- Two judges barred New York City on
Wednesday from starting a program to put children in foster
care if their parents seek city shelter but refuse to accept work
assignments.

State Supreme Court Justices Elliott Wilk and Helen Freedman
signed orders that bar the city from expelling homeless families
from shelters, or from taking children from families on the
grounds that the adults are not providing shelter for them.

The policy, supported by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, ``strikes
terror in the hearts of people with children,'' Wilk said.

City counsel Michael Hess said the city would appeal.

``All of the issues in this matter had been previously been ruled
on in the city's favor and today the rule of law has been totally
ignored,'' he said in a statement.

City officials had previously announced that on Dec. 13, they
would start enforcing state rules requiring homeless families
who seek shelter to comply with all public assistance rules,
which include accepting workfare jobs.

If adults do not accept workfare assignments, they risk losing
their municipal shelter and seeing their children placed in foster
care because they lack shelter, Human Resources
Administration officials said.

Meanwhile, police have been arresting homeless people who
refuse orders to move from sidewalks. That element of the
city's homeless policy was not before the court.

Two judges heard the proceeding, requested by the Legal Aid
Society, because each had heard and ruled on different but
similar cases involving homeless shelters. Both signed
temporary restraining orders.

``This is really a misguided policy, and I think it's time for the
mayor to rethink it,'' said Steven Banks of Legal Aid. ``It
doesn't make since to whipsaw families like this.''

 AP-NY-12-08-99 2226EDT


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