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NYC calls a halt to sending its homeless population to Newark

New York City has agreed to a temporary pause on its policy of sending its homeless to live in Newark, NJ.

After seven hours of discussion between the City of Newark and New York City attorneys behind closed chambers with a federal judge in December, about the controversial Special One Time Assistance Program (SOTA), both municipalities said they have made collaborative progress in addressing immediate issues.

“This is a victory for the people of Newark,” Gary Lipshutz, Newark Assistant Corporation Counsel said.” “I actually think it’s good for both cities to take care of the people. That’s my job. That’s our job in city government.”

Under the agreement, New York agreed to a temporary pause in sending new families and residents to Newark; to provide Newark with a confidential list of persons who were moved here and their addresses; and work with Newark to inspect those apartments and homes for housing code violations. Any such violations will be enforced by the City of Newark and landlords will be charged for them in Newark Municipal or Essex County Superior Court, as appropriate.

“When they provide us with the list of SOTA recipients in Newark, we will have a chance to ensure they are living in legitimate conditions and make sure that they are living in safe conditions,” said Kenyatta Stewart, Newark Corporation Counsel.

Under the SOTA Program, approximately 1,200 New York families have been sent to live in Newark, regardless of their habitability, with a full year’s rent paid up front. New York’s SOTA policy and that lawsuit continues.

Meanwhile, New York City Council has voted through legislation that will require developers of large housing projects receiving financial assistance from the City to allocate 15 percent of the units for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

This legislation is designed to move more New Yorkers into stable and permanent housing.

It will apply to new rental buildings that have more than 40 units, and will make New York City the first large city in the country to require developers to set aside housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. This bill would go into effect in July 2020.

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