New Jersey mayor sues New York City over moving homeless with 'offer they can't refuse'




  • In US
  • 2019-12-03 14:46:23Z
  • By Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's administration has sued New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, accusing the fellow Democrat of dumping his city's population of homeless people on New Jersey's biggest city.

The lawsuit naming the city of New York, its mayor and his homelessness czar, Steven Banks, accuses the de Blasio administration's Special One-Time Assistance, or SOTA, program of using strong-arm tactics to send people across the Hudson River to find a place to live.

"This case concerns an unlawful program of 'coerced' migration," Newark lawyers say in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Monday.

New York City officials are accused of "forcing SOTA recipients to accept the proverbial 'offer they can't refuse,'" the documents said, explaining that the phrase from the 1972 American Mafia film "The Godfather" is "really a command, 'Do what we say or else.'"

The lawsuit accuses New York of violating federal commerce laws. It cites several former New York shelter residents who were hustled through tours of New Jersey apartments and pressured to quickly commit to one, with the SOTA Program paying landlords a full year's rent up front.

"She was told by case managers in her shelter that she should look in New Jersey, in the cities of Newark or Paterson, because New York landlords were leery of the SOTA program and because she would find something quicker in New Jersey," Newark's lawyers said in court filings.

The de Blasio administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Baraka, Newark's mayor since 2014 and the son of poet and African-American activist Amiri Baraka, and de Blasio, a former Democratic presidential candidate who touts himself as a progressive, appeared together in Newark last year to announce a tenant initiative aimed at keeping people in their homes, in part by ending illegal evictions. The New Jersey program was modeled after one in New York City and both mayors praised one another for pursuing the initiatives.

The vast majority of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness - over 63,000 homeless men, women and children - spend the night instead within the city's shelter system where they remain unseen, according to The Bowery Mission nonprofit group. In a city of 8.5 million people, nearly one in every 121 New Yorkers is currently homeless.


(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Harvey Weinstein defense to cite
Harvey Weinstein defense to cite 'dozens of loving emails' accusers sent after alleged attacks
  • US
  • 2020-01-21 20:38:10Z

Harvey Weinstein's defense attorneys on Tuesday signaled their intent to highlight "dozens and dozens and dozens of loving emails" sent by accusers to the producer after he is alleged to have sexually assaulted them. With jury selection done, the New York trial is set to have opening arguments on Wednesday. Weinstein is charged with crimes related to two of the six women, and the rest are being called in support of prosecutors' efforts to demonstrate a pattern of sexual predation.

21,000 Rounds Fired: How the Battleship USS New Jersey Fought the Vietnam War
21,000 Rounds Fired: How the Battleship USS New Jersey Fought the Vietnam War

A lot of firepower.

When it comes to unanimous Hall picks, Jeter could be No. 2
When it comes to unanimous Hall picks, Jeter could be No. 2

When it comes to unanimous picks for baseball's Hall of Fame, Derek Jeter quite appropriately has the chance to be No. 2. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera became the first player to appear on every ballot when he swept 425 votes in last year's election. Ken Griffey Jr. was three votes short perfection

Deadly NJ police chases kill innocent victims, catch few crooks
Deadly NJ police chases kill innocent victims, catch few crooks

Many police pursuits across the nation end tragically and disproportionately affect black people. Chases often start with a traffic violation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US