Inspired, strengthened and sustained by faith, the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing is committed to confronting the unconscionable and unacceptable reality of homelessness in New York City. Recognizing society's shared responsibility and working as partners with those who have experienced homelessness, the Assembly will mobilize communities of faith to empower all people, to advocate public policies to eliminate homelessness, and strive for the transformation of society.


It Is Good for the Soul

"Then all of a sudden the view in my eyes expanded and I took a look around me. That was the point for me when I realized I had recovered. I was no longer homeless. I had regained my strength back to being physically independent and I saw an overflow. Recovery is simply getting better, and that day in my living room I saw things had gotten better for me physically, spiritually and mentally."

Interfaith Assembly Speaker Bureau member, Darryl Jerome Seals, reflects on his life and experience of homelessness. Read the full text of Darryl's reflection at Cura: A literary magazine of art and action.

Federal Panel Keeps Redistricting Suit In Place

... from NY Daily News:

A three-federal judge panel rejected state lawmakers’ effort to dismiss a redistricting lawsuit this afternoon.
 
The federal judge panel assigned the case to U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann to manage it for the three judges. A conference is expected to be held tomorrow for the sides in the case to discuss any “special directives or suggestions” the court should give Mann “to assist her in preparing a redistricting plan, deadlines, and the appointment of experts.”
 
A source close to the situation said Mann, at least right now, is not the special master who will draw the legislative boundaries for the court should it come to that. But it is a sign,  though, that is exactly where all this is headed, the source said.
 
The big questions will be whether the state Legislature can pass a state and congressional redistricting plan and whether Gov. Cuomo will sign it or follow through on his vows to veto anything not drawn by an independent body.
 
If a deal is reached and Cuomo signs the plan, chances are better that the federal court will accept it. If he vetoes, it’s anyone’s guess who the court will draw the lines.

City Loses First Round in Legal Dispute Over Stricter Shelter Rules

from WNYC...

A court ruled Tuesday that they city cannot move forward with its requirement for homeless single adults to prove they have no other place to go before being found eligible for shelter.

According to the decision by State Supreme Court Judge Judith Gische, the city failed to follow proper administrative procedures before implementing the rule, which was to go into effect last November.

The rule was immediately challenged by Legal Aid and the City Council on the grounds that it violated a longstanding consent decree as well as city administrative procedures that require new rules to be vetted by the city council as well as the public prior to implementation. The judge agreed on the latter point. The consent decree issue is still pending.

The city sought the stricter eligibility requirements because, it argued, more single adults are coming from having lived with family or friends and the city believes they could potentially return to them rather than stay in a shelter.

The stricter eligablity requirement would also allow the city to find deny shelter to individuals with substance abuse problems if a room could be found at a treatment program instead.

The city has estimated that if the rule is implemented, about 10 percent of applicants would be found ineligible for shelter — a projected savings of $4 million a year. 

The city has said it would appeal the judges ruling. At a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would do everything it can to move forward with the policy, “or let the judges explain to the public why they think that you should just have a right to walk in and say, whether I need services or not, you give it to me.”

Open Letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn

February 10, 2012

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

City Hall

New York, NY 10007

 

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

City Hall

New York, NY 10007

 

Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn,

I write to you today as a New Yorker and a member of the city’s faith community, whose deeply held values call me to prioritize the most vulnerable among us: the homeless. I am very concerned that the ending of the Advantage rent-subsidy program marks the first time in three decades that New York City has no plan for helping the over 40,000 homeless men, women, and children – even those who are employed – to find and maintain housing as they work to rebuild their lives. On the heels of a court decision that withdrew housing assistance for nearly 8,000 formerly homeless families, I stand with a broad community of advocates for the homeless in calling on New York City to use existing federal resources to help move families from homelessness into permanent housing. I urge you to take immediate action to allow homeless families to access permanent housing resources by setting aside one in three New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments and Section 8 vouchers for homeless families and individuals and utilize other available resources. Research has consistently shown that federal housing assistance – like public housing and Section 8 vouchers – is effective in reducing family homelessness. Setting aside only one-third of these apartments will have a discernible impact on the homeless community.

Testimony Regarding New York Gerrymandering

Tenants Political Action Committee

277 Broadway, Suite 608

New York, New York 10007

 

 

New York State Legislative Task Force

On Demographic Research and Reapportionment

 February 2, 2012

 Testimony of Michael McKee, Treasurer

When I testified before this Task Force last September, I expressed a good deal of skepticism about what you were already planning behind closed doors.

Now it turns out that I was not skeptical enough. The legislative lines recently released by this Task Force leave observers grasping for adequate adjectives and nouns to describe your process, and your product. Chutzpah? Gall? Maddening? Insane? Blatant? All deficient to express the appropriate outrage.

I guess “Up to your old tricks” is also inadequate, as the proposed district lines are even more outrageous this time than in the last several decades.

While my testimony will focus on the State Senate lines, the Assembly majority must share the blame. It was not surprising that Assembly Member McEneny was recently quoted as acknowledging the reality of this bipartisan gerrymandering exercise: “As a practical matter, they [the Senate majority] draw their lines, we draw our lines.” (City & State, January 6, 2012, “Quietly, Senate GOP Releases Plan For 63rd Seat.”) Not surprising, but appalling.

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