News Story (New York)
July 11, 2015
Tags: Housing: Homelessness
Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City), Coalition for the Homeless (DC) (DCCFH), National Center on Family Homelessness
New York City is legally required to provide shelter to all homeless people, thanks to a series of court decrees that have withstood the dogged efforts of many a Republican Mayor and Governor to overturn them. But a large number of families who seek shelter are turned away anyway. During the tail end of the Bloomberg administration more than 60 percent of families who applied were found ineligible, according to an Independent Budget Office analysis. To gain eligibility, families have to convince PATH that they have zero other options.
“You have to prove every place you and every member of your family slept in for the past two years. It’s so they know every address they can investigate,” says Kathryn Kliff, a staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society in the Bronx. “Even if you’re street homeless, you have to get documentation.” Kliff counsels clients to get creative, like asking a bodega guy on the corner or “the guy that slept next to them” for official proof that they were, in fact, sleeping on the street.