Updated 12/10/2009 11:48 AM
Lawsuit Claims City Shelters Lack Enough Beds
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
The city is facing a lawsuit that claims it fails to provide proper shelter to homeless New Yorkers.
The suit filed by the Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society claims the city is in violation of a 1981 consent decree by failing to provide adequate shelter beds for the rising homeless population.
It also claims the city failed to prepare for this, even though the demand for shelter has been growing predictably for more than a year and will only get worse as the weather becomes colder.
The Coalition for the Homeless says the shelters are already at capacity.
"This is a problem that's been building for many weeks and we put the city on notice,” said Mary Brosnahan of the Coalition for the Homeless. “We've been out virtually every night in the shelter system. And what we've seen as lately as last night are dozens of men sleeping in chairs, on filthy floors. The city is completely out of beds."
Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Robert Hess says there's no truth to the Coalition's allegations. He also says the city is not over-capacity and that everyone who has sought shelter has been properly housed.