Resource Assessment for Returning Single Adult Clients
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE
The Department of Homeless Services (“DHS” or the “Department”) provides temporary emergency shelter to homeless New York City residents in accordance with State and local law, implementing regulations, and court orders, with the goal of moving shelter residents back into permanent housing in the community as soon as possible.
DHS proposes to amend Title 31 of the Rules of the City of New York by adding Chapter 3, which pertains to single adults who return to shelter in the adult services system after an extended absence. Currently, if a single adult shelter client returns to the system within 365 days, the client must return to his or her official shelter (i.e., the shelter where he or she had been previously assigned), where he or she will receive a bed. If a client returns more than 365 days later, the client is sent to a single adult intake center to reapply for shelter, at which point he or she undergoes a new resource assessment and is assigned to a new official shelter.
Through years of experience and practice, DHS has found that many single adult shelter clients exit the system and return after an extended absence (a period of at least thirty consecutive days), but within 365 days. Although it may be beneficial under certain circumstances for some of these clients to return directly to their official shelters, DHS seeks to provide other clients who return after an extended absence with a new resource assessment to identify alternative housing options they may have identified, utilized, or secured during their absence, and to connect them to resources or benefits that may alleviate their need for shelter and help them avoid re-entry into the system. Such alternative housing options can provide clients with long term housing stability, and assist in seeking benefits, employment, or other social services in the community. Importantly, even if no alternatives are immediately available, or if a client chooses not to utilize those alternatives at that time, the resource assessment will provide helpful information to the client and shelter staff at the client’s official shelter placement for on-going case management work.
Considering the value of this assessment, the proposed Chapter 3 provides for referral of a single adult shelter client returning to shelter after an extended absence to a diversion office (located at a DHS single adult intake center) to participate in a Single Adult Resource Assessment (“Assessment”) conducted by diversion staff. This Assessment will determine where a client resided during his or her extended absence from the adult services system, identify alternative housing options, and connect the client to resources or benefits to avoid re-entry into shelter. If none of these options are available or if the client does not wish to utilize any available options, the client will be referred back to his or her official shelter in the adult services system.
The Department notes that it does not believe that requiring a client returning after an extended absence to participate in a resource assessment must be promulgated as a rule pursuant to the City Administrative Procedure Act (“CAPA”), and believes that it may implement such a procedure outside of CAPA.
However, in the exercise of caution and in light of the Court’s decision in Callahan v. Carey and Council of the City of New York v. Department of Homeless Services of the City of New York, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 758 (Sup. Ct., N.Y. Co. 2012), the Department proposes to promulgate this procedure as a rule.