NYC to Fight Judge on Homeless Policy FWD

Tom Boland (
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 23:30:08 -0800 (PST)

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FOX NEWS Sunday [show topic will be]
New York politcal battle over the homeless, with Rep. Vito Fossella,
R-N.Y.; and Rep. Charles Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
No Shelter From Homeless Battle In NY
Can anyone email or the text for above

A related news article follows:

FWD  New York Times - December 10, 1999


            [T]he Giuliani administration vowed
Thursday to appeal a state court decision that has
temporarily blocked the mayor's plan to require
homeless people to work in exchange for their beds in
city shelters.

        City officials, including the corporation
counsel, Michael D. Hess, derided the court decision
issued Wednesday as legally baseless and fraught with
misguided emotion tied to the holiday season.

        "The decision is an emotional one, not a legal
one," Hess said Thursday. "They talked about the
Christmas season. That's not how you decide cases,
based on what month it is or what temperature it is
outside." He said a notice to appeal would likely be
filed sometime today.

        Meanwhile, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani defended
the new homeless policy and pledged to carry it out as
soon as possible.

        At an emergency hearing on Wednesday, Justice
Helen E. Freedman and Justice Elliott Wilk of State
Supreme Court in Manhattan issued a temporary
restraining order barring the administration from
imposing its new rules. The judges called the policy
frightening because it could put children in foster
care if their parents failed to meet the work

        Giuliani, at his daily news conference
Thursday, criticized the judges and said that higher
courts had already affirmed the city's right to impose
the new rules.

        "There is no question the decision is wrong,"
he said. "The policy actually has been upheld by the
very judge who entered the stay, in a written opinion,
and the policy was upheld by the Appellate Division and
not reversed by the Court of Appeals."

        In their appeal, the city's lawyers plan to
argue that the legal issues in the case had already
been litigated and decided in previous cases, and then
upheld in the higher courts.

        The mayor insisted the work-for-shelter policy
would be carried out. "This policy will go into
effect," he said. "And it's a good policy and it's a
humane policy and it's a decent one. And it's one that
flies in the face of years and years of ideological
opposition to it that ended up in people being poorer,
more dependent and made into victims as opposed to
people we can actually help to help themselves."

        The temporary restraining order delays the new
rules at least until Jan. 14, when another hearing is
to be held to determine whether the plan violates an
earlier court ruling that the city cannot seek to place
children in foster care because their families lack
housing. Giuliani has said the children would be put in
foster care because their parents, by refusing to work,
could not properly care for them.

        Giuliani and Hess said Thursday that they
believed that, by filing a notice to appeal, the city
would automatically get a stay overriding the
restraining order and allowing them to put the policy
into effect.

        But Steven Banks, a Legal Aid lawyer and
counsel to the Coalition for the Homeless, said he
would fight the city's efforts to overturn the
restraining order but hoped the city would negotiate
rather than appeal.

        "If they are intent on invoking a statutory
stay even where none exists, we are certainly going to
contest that," Banks said. "I really hope, though, that
instead of pursuing an appeal, the mayor or anyone he
designates would sit down with us and try to craft a
shelter plan that is going to work and not hurt
people." He also defended the judges' reference to the
holiday season.

        "The courts in this state have equitable power
to protect vulnerable New Yorkers like homeless
children from irreparable harm, and the judges
exercised that power Thursday," he said. "The fact that
it's the holiday season and the onset of winter are
clearly not irrelevant." He added, "We're perfectly
willing to sit down with anyone on the city's side to
work out a better plan."
         Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

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