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Give Homeless Families a Break, Shelter Providers Urge Mayor Adams

(THE CITY) JOSEFA VELASQUEZ, February 14, 2022

Homeless services and legal groups are calling on Mayor Eric Adams to permanently abolish a longtime requirement that entire families show up in person to a Bronx intake center in order to apply for homeless shelter.

That process — suspended temporarily in the pandemic — brought young children to the Department of Homeless Services’ facility when their parents or guardians applied for shelter, and again to reapply after an application was rejected.

Families from all over the five boroughs seeking shelter are required to make the trip to the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) intake center on East 151st Street, where families obtain an emergency placement while their applications are investigated. 

On Friday, a dozen organizations sent a letter to Adams and his recently appointed Department of Social Services Commissioner, Gary Jenkins, urging them to continue the COVID-era application process, which allows families to stay in shelters even after their applications are rejected if they are trying once again.

THE CITY recently reported that of the families accepted into shelter in November, 62% had to apply more than once, while 31% submitted more than three applications before succeeding. Three in four applications for homeless shelter got rejected last year — the most since the Department of Homeless Services started tracking the figures a decade ago. 

The groups, which include shelter providers Win and CAMBA, advocacy groups Coalition for the Homeless, Vocal-NY, Advocates for Children and Barrier-Free Living, as well as the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services and New York Legal Assistance group, wrote that the old system, in place for decades, took a heavy toll on families in crisis.

Source: The City