Court sides with Council over Bloomberg on homeless-shelter policy

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An appellate court ruled against the Bloomberg administration's homeless policy today, banning implementation of rules that would have required a heightened burden of proof for New Yorkers seeking residence in city shelters.

The City Council sued the administration, using a technical argument that the administration did not follow the City Administrative Procedure Act when instituting the new practice.

"We are extremely pleased with today's decision which prevents the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) from implementing a policy that would have kept thousands of homeless men and women out of shelter," outgoing speaker Christine Quinn said.

"Shelter should be a last resort when all other resources have been exhausted. We are disappointed with the Court's decision today," said Thomas Crane, chief of the city Law Department's general litigation division.

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Homeless advocates have long argued that Bloomberg's measure would deny life-saving emergency shelter to thousands of vulnerable homeless men and women each year.

According to statistics compiled by the Coalition for the Homeless, the homeless population in the city has grown to 60,000, including more than 22,000 children.

The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 69 percent since Bloomberg took office in 2002. The mayor has attributed some of the rise in recent years to a reduction of state funding for a program that moved people from shelters into subsidized housing.