Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Quinn, Bloomberg At Odds Over City's Homeless Policy For Single Adults

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg are in a rare fight over the city's homeless policy for single adults. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Julio Valdez has been in the city's shelter system since August. He's one of the nearly 10,000 single adults in the system, a number that has skyrocketed in recent years.

"Freezing in the cold, 18 degrees, but I am not going to let that bother me," he said.

If it were up to the Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Valdez might not be eligible for shelter.

"We don't have the money," the mayor said. "We have an obligation to provide housing when people need it. It's not unreasonable to make sure that people need it."

"We dollar signs," Valdez said. "Over our head, we dollar signs to them."

Under a new Bloomberg policy, the city wants single homeless adults to prove they have no other housing options. So someone like Valdez may not qualify for shelter. His family is in Brooklyn.

"I figure that I want to get up and go on my own, get my own place and get myself together," he said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has taken the mayor to court over it. Both sides were back in court on Tuesday.

"They were going to do this in a way that I believe is only going to result in more homeless individuals sleeping on the streets overnight," Quinn said.

Last year, a lower court sided with the council, saying the city did not give the public enough notice of the change.

"They made a change that the mayor is simply not allowed to do unilaterally," Quinn said.

The administration is appealing.

"Asking them to justify to show that they don't have alternatives is nothing that is unreasonable, and we are certainly going to do it unless the courts stop us," Bloomberg said,

The administration said the policy will "better serve" single adults, like Valdez.

Attorneys on the council's side disagree.

"It's obviously of great concern to all New Yorkers, whether or not women and men who need help will be turned out in the streets and potentially suffer serious injury or even death on a night like tonight," said Steven Banks of the Legal Aid Society.

There is no clear timeline for the court to make a decision, but attorneys said they expect one in the next month or two. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP