Jersey City Joins Lawsuit Against NYC Homeless Program

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
December 20, 2019New Yorkshare

Jersey City announced on Dec. 17 it’s joining Newark in a lawsuit against New York City over its controversial Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) program.

New York City’s homeless are being relocated to other states with a year’s worth of paid rent to prop them up. Newark officials have said SOTA is both a safety issue and a burden to their city.

“[W]e’re joining onto the lawsuit from Newark against NYC for pushing their homeless population to NJ cities (including JC without communicating anything or providing proper support,” wrote Mayor of Jersey City Steven Fulop on Twitter on Dec. 17. “That
@NYCMayor plan is not solving the problem that is abdicating the responsibility.”

The Corporation Counsel of Newark said earlier this month that recipients of SOTA are living in “subpar conditions” in Newark. He added that some of them don’t have heat, lights, or electricity.

An investigation by New York’s own Department of Investigation (DOI) earlier this year found that many families were placed in extremely dirty, unsafe conditions, and several other oversights. “DOI’s investigation has found the promise of the program is not being fulfilled,” the department’s commissioner was quoted in the press release (pdf).

New York is now countersuing Newark for blocking the relocation of homeless people, saying their new rule (pdf) discriminates against people receiving government assistance.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio listens as President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Nov 11, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

“But we’re gonna look at the whole situation,” said Mayor de Blasio at an unrelated press conference on Dec. 12. “And I hope and believe a constructive conversation with other governments in the region about the right way to proceed.”

Within two years, people relocated to New York State and other states through SOTA comprised over 5,000 households, according to documents from New York City obtained by NTD News.

An average of over $17,000 is spent on rent for each of those families. Since 2017, the city has spent over $89 million on the program.

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