Friday, June 3, 2016

Cuomo Threatens to Seize or Shutter Homeless Shelters | Observer

Cuomo Threatens to Seize or Shutter Homeless Shelters | Observer: “The rapid growth of the homeless shelter system in recent years and the persistent nature of safety, habitability, and security-related violations in the shelters make clear the need for strong state oversight of the homeless shelter system and rigorous state enforcement mechanisms when deficiencies fail to be corrected,” the report states.

OTDA announced two of the shelters it inspected will be shut down within 90 days, though it does not identify where they are or what entity ran them—though it noted municipalities most often operate shelters directly. The Cuomo administration gave two other facilities a 90-day timeframe to come into compliance before the state will take further action. Another 21 shelters have 180 days to rectify their on-site problems, or OTDA will close their doors.

Facilities facing closure must place their residents in other housing before shuttering. OTDA and local agencies will reach out to the remaining shelters to ensure “timely correction” of their problems.

“Behind these numbers of violations lies the experience of vulnerable families and adults who frequently face behavioral health and other challenges,” the report continues. “There is a human consequence when the homeless system fails.”

The document alleges that 765 of the shelters inspected were not officially certified by the state—and that the vast majority of the 25,815 violations OTDA discovered were at the uncertified sites. As a result, the report calls for an enormous expansion of state oversight, with new requirements that municipalities submit operating and security plans in order to receive funding from OTDA.