New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1391-2012    Version: * Name: Create an approval process whereby community boards and the NYC Council have the power to veto siting of transitional housing for the homeless.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on General Welfare
On agenda: 6/28/2012
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to enact, legislation to create an approval process whereby community boards and the New York City Council have the power to veto siting of transitional housing for the homeless.
Sponsors: Charles Barron, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Letitia James, Deborah L. Rose, Jumaane D. Williams, Ruben Wills
Council Member Sponsors: 6
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
12/31/2013*Charles Barron City Council Filed (End of Session)  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/31/2013*Charles Barron City Council Filed (End of Session)  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/28/2012*Charles Barron City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/28/2012*Charles Barron City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
Res. No. 1391
 
 
Resolution calling upon the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to enact, legislation to create an approval process whereby community boards and the New York City Council have the power to veto siting of transitional housing for the homeless.
 
 
By Council Members Barron, Ferreras, James, Rose, Williams and Wills
Whereas, Pursuant to New York State law and regulations, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance ("OTDA") oversees the provision of social services in the State, including those for the homeless; and
Whereas, The Department of Homeless Services ("DHS") in New York City operates under this oversight and is responsible for providing, among other things, transitional housing for eligible homeless individuals and families until they move into permanent housing; and
Whereas, DHS utilizes various types of transitional housing to fulfill this responsibility, including Tier II shelters for families, residences for adults, hotels, and cluster sites, which are temporary transitional housing units in apartment buildings where lease holding tenants may also reside; and
Whereas, Section 197-c of the New York City Charter sets forth the uniform land use review procedure ("ULURP"), which describes the process that must be followed when there are changes in the use, development or improvement of real property subject to City regulation; and
Whereas, The ULURP applies in several instances, including site selection for capital projects, housing and urban renewal plans and projects, and the City's acquisition of real property by lease; and   
Whereas, New York City Charter section 197-d provides a detailed explanation of the ULURP process and includes, inter alia, requirements that certain documents be filed with the Department of City Planning, that affected community boards and borough presidents be notified of proposed projects and participate in meetings, that a public hearing be held, and it also provides for review of proposed projects by the City Council; and
Whereas, Additionally , section 203 of the New York City Charter sets forth the criteria for the location of City facilities, otherwise known as the "fair share" criteria including, but not limited to, the building of certain types of transitional housing; and   
Whereas, The intent of the fair share criteria is to make the decision-making processes used by City agencies in selecting sites more transparent, provide a more open forum for involvement in the land use process, and achieve more distributional equity of City facilities in New York; and
Whereas, However, the City need not undergo the ULURP/fair share process when siting many types of transitional housing for the homeless, namely, those that do not qualify as "City facilities"; and   
Whereas, While DHS requires that the community be provided with notice for certain types of proposed sites, including Tier II family shelters and State-certified facilities for single adults, the requirement does not apply for all types of transitional housing; and  
Whereas, For example, if DHS pays a landlord a per diem rate to temporarily house a homeless person or a family in an apartment, the location would not undergo fair share analysis and DHS does not provide the community with notice; and
Whereas, Additionally, in cluster sites, when less than 50 percent of the units within a particular building are comprised of shelter clients DHS does not provide notice to the community prior to utilizing those units for temporary housing; and  
Whereas, At a June 10, 2010 General Welfare Committee hearing, DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond testified that shelters are concentrated in particular neighborhoods in order to keep families with children who enter shelter close to their original neighborhoods and communities; and
Whereas, However,  it has been documented that facilities for the homeless are concentrated in low income communities, communities of color, and that siting rules are often evaded or eluded; and  
Whereas, For example, testimony from an April 12, 2011 City Council Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses Committee Hearing titled, Oversight: Fair Share after 20 Years, demonstrates that some City residents  state that the fair share doctrine fails to create an equitable distribution of transitional housing for the homeless; and  
Whereas, At the April 12th hearing, the Director of Economic Development for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation testified that, "there is no question that the prevalence of homeless facilities within a relatively narrow geographical area contributes to the negative perception of the [area]"; and  
Whereas, Additionally, at the June 10, 2010 General Welfare Committee Hearing, a representative from Community Board 16 in Brooklyn testified that, "the present method of siting transitional housing creates an atmosphere of hostility and underminesÂ…effortsÂ…to rebuild our community with permanent and affordable housing"; and
Whereas, In the Statement of Community District Needs in 2011 for Community Board 5,   the Board states that the community has accepted more than its fair share of homeless shelters and therefore requested "zero" new transitional housing facilities; and
Whereas, While social services, including those for the homeless, are State regulated and administered through the local districts under State supervision, State law is silent regarding notice requirements or fair share considerations that DHS must fulfill prior to locating transitional housing; and
Whereas, In order to ensure the equitable distribution of transitional housing in New York City, community boards and the City Council must have the authority to veto proposed sites for transitional housing; and
 Whereas, Currently, pursuant to State law, the City Council has the power to disapprove a proposed site for the construction of a new educational facility; and
Whereas, The School Construction Authority ("SCA") must submit a site plan to the Mayor and City Council and if the Council disapproves of the construction plan the SCA may revise and resubmit the plan or may eliminate it after consultation with the Department of Education; and
Whereas, A similar process is needed in order to prevent the oversaturation of transitional housing in particular neighborhoods in New York City; now, therefore, be it  
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to enact, legislation to create an approval process whereby community boards and the New York City Council have the power to veto siting of transitional housing for the homeless.
 EH
LS #3703
6/18/12