NYC’s homeless relocation program slammed

New York City is paying homeless people to leave the city and it is causing major problems for other cities.  Now several local governments in New Jersey are suing over the problem.

A scathing report from the Department of Investigations slammed the homeless relocation program, saying it fails to provide safe and clean accommodations to the people who use it.

The Special One-time Assistance Program, or SOTA, is meant to assist people moving out of shelters and into their own apartments.  Many of those apartments are outside of New York City.

More than 2,200 families have been placed in 62 New Jersey localities.  1,000 people have been put in Newark alone.

The report identified apartments with no heat, no electricity and vermin infestations and other code violations in locations like Newark and East Orange, New Jersey.

Eight of the properties in East Orange were allegedly illegally rented and never passed local inspections.


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Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the report during a press briefing on Thursday, pushing the blame for the deficient buildings onto New Jersey leaders.

"Buildings in your jurisdiction, you have a responsibility for the health and safety of the building," de Blasio said.  "If Newark is saying these buildings are not acceptable places for people to live, why isn't Newark doing anything about it?"

The report comes within days of Mayor De Blasio being notified that Mayors Ras Baraka of Newark and J. Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, New Jersey are suing New York City over the SOTA relocation program.

48 units in Elizabeth were put into the program.

Mayor Bollwage told Good Day New York on Friday, "What New York's done is take their problem and dump it on New Jersey."

Bollwage says that New York City is not providing any services or training to people once they are in the program.  He is also concerned about an influx of children into the school system.

De Blasio calls the lawsuit disrespectful to New York's homeless people.

"People from some of those places have ended up in our shelter system.  Do you see me calling them out because some of their residents ended up in our shelter system?  No," de Blasio said.