Fwd: Bronx: Mayor Giuliani backs down

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Sun, 21 Feb 1999 08:19:12 PST

 City Backs Down,
Will Shelter Bx. Homeless
Daily News Staff Writer

Under pressure to change its policies on the
homeless, the Giuliani administration yesterday
said it would no longer force homeless families to
sleep on the floor of a city office in the Bronx.

The about-face came as part of a compromise with
the City Council on new shelter regulations  a
deal that will leave in place a Brooklyn community
center the city had planned to evict to build a

"The right thing to do is to give them shelter,"
said Deputy Mayor Joseph Lhota, announcing that
families who've slept on the floors and desks at
the Emergency Assistance Unit in Mott Haven will
be brought to shelters while their housing
applications are reviewed.

The city has paid $5 million in fines for forcing
families to sleep in the Bronx office in violation
of court orders.

In recent months, the administration was hemmed in
by a new City Council law regulating shelters and
aimed at ending overnight stays at the office. The
law required the city to give families seeking
shelter their own room, with locks and beds.

Giuliani officials bitterly opposed the law and
said they would have to spend millions to build
separate rooms. But a state Supreme Court justice
last month ordered the city to comply and said
fines would be imposed after 30 days if families 
as many as 40 a night  were still sleeping in the
emergency unit.

The battle grew political after Mayor Giuliani
said he would evict five community groups from a
building in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, to build a
shelter. The mayor acknowledged he was punishing
the local city councilman, Democrat Stephen
DiBrienza, for sponsoring the shelter bill.

Under the deal with the Council, the groups at 250
Baltic St. will stay. The Bronx unit will take
applications for emergency shelter 24 hours a day
instead of starting at 5 p.m.

Original Publication Date: 02/19/1999


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