Today, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum called for passage of a law that would end the practice of charging rents to the working homeless in New York State shelters. She was joined at City Hall by the bill's author, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, along with other elected officials and advocates for the homeless.
This past Monday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the city would begin implementing a 1997 state law which requires employed shelter residents to use a portion of their earnings to pay rent. The city’s decision to comply with this law will make it more difficult for homeless New Yorkers to save money—threatening to undermine Mayor Bloomberg’s stated goal of moving the homeless out of shelters and into permanent housing.
Public Advocate Gotbaum said: "This is a senseless policy that must be abandoned. Mayor Bloomberg should recognize that this works against his promise to help people move into permanent housing. Instead of explaining the city's position by saying 'We're told we have to do it, so we're doing it' he should be leading the charge to change the state law, remove barriers to emergency shelter, and help homeless New Yorkers find permanent housing."
Read the press release