Title 31: Mayor's Office of Homelessness and Single Room Occupancy

Chapter 1: Eligibility of Homeless Families and Individuals To Rent City-Owned Apartment

§ 1-01 Eligibility.

(a) Apartments in City-owned buildings may be viewed and rented by families who have been homeless for at least twelve months.
  1. Priority for such housing among eligible families shall be based on length of stay in City-sponsored emergency housing. Families with a longer cumulative stay in such housing shall have a priority for viewing and renting City-owned apartments. In determining the length of stay for this purpose, stays in Tier I or Tier II shelters, Family Centers, hotels (when family has been in continuous receipt of hotel/motel allowance), or City sponsored battered women’s programs shall be cumulated. Where a family has a break in residence in excess of 30 days their length of stay should be calculated from the first day of their return to any of the above facilities.
  2. Exceptions to the policy stated in paragraphs (a) and (b) may be granted in exigent circumstances by the Mayor’s office or Homelessness and SRO Housing Services. An exception may be granted only if residence in any facility listed in paragraph (b) would pose a serious and present danger to the life, safety or health of a family member and there is no alternative housing available for the family.
  3. Smaller apartments suitable for only single individuals may be assigned to appropriate homeless individuals. They shall be assigned to appropriate homeless individuals:

   (1) to foster and encourage independence by shelter residents participating in employment programs, and

   (2) to address the special medical needs of an individual who may benefit from housing outside of the shelter system, as determined by ERA in conjunction with a designee of the Mayor’s Office on Homelessness and SRO Housing Services.

Chapter 2: Single Adult Homeless Shelter

§ 2-01 Single Adult Permanent Housing Referral Criteria.

(a)  Homeless shelters for single adults may not refer clients to permanent housing in buildings that meet one or more of the following criteria:

   (1) Buildings that appear on the New York State Department of Health (DOH) Referral Suspension List or on the DOH Uncertified Facilities List, as posted on the DOH website, when a client’s exit from shelter is being planned, or when the shelter otherwise considers referring a client to the address.

   (2) Buildings that have active vacate orders listed by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and/or the Fire Department (FDNY) on their respective websites when a client’s exit from shelter is being planned, or when the shelter otherwise considers referring a client to the address.

   (3) Buildings against which HPD has pending litigation, or with one or more Hazard Class “I” violations as reflected in the HPD “Complaint, Violations and Registration Information” database, when a client’s exit from shelter is being planned, or when the shelter otherwise considers referring a client to the address, or buildings that at such time are identified on the HPD website as enrolled in the HPD Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP) established by the New York Administrative Code § 27-2153.

   (4) Buildings with one or more complaints posted on the DOB website (Buildings Information System or BIS) within the four years preceding the time when a client’s exit from shelter is being planned, or when the shelter otherwise considers referring a client to the address, that meet both criteria (i) and (ii) below:

      (i) Coded as one or more of the following Complaint Categories:

Code Complaint Category Description
31 Certificate of occupancy (CO) – None/Illegal/Contrary to CO
45 Illegal conversion
71 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) – Illegal work/No permit/Change in occup – use

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      (ii) Complaint Disposition Codes that are blank in BIS or are A1 through A9 (violations or summons served) or are C1 through C4 (failure to gain access/access denied).

  1. Referrals by shelters to housing that meets one or more of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section will be penalized through the Performance Incentive Program, as set forth in the provider’s contract with DHS.
  2. A shelter provider may not stop a client from choosing to exit shelter to housing that meets one or more of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section. Should a client make such a choice, the shelter staff must inform the client that the housing option he or she has chosen fails to meet the minimum standards outlined by DHS. Shelter staff must document this conversation in the client’s case record.
  3. Using the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section, shelter providers must evaluate a housing option provided by a potential landlord or agent before that landlord or agent presents that housing option to clients within a homeless shelter for single adults. If a shelter provider discovers that a housing option is found to meet one or more of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section, the shelter provider must prohibit the landlord or agent from presenting this housing option to clients in the shelter.
  4. Should a client view a housing option provided by a potential landlord or agent and believe that it meets one or more of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section, the shelter provider must offer to assist the client in making a complaint to the 311 citizen service center. The shelter provider must provide the client with access to a telephone if the client does not have one available. If the client refuses to accept the housing option based on his/her report of a condition that would make the housing option inappropriate under such criteria, the shelter provider must not make the referral. If an inspection conducted by the Department of Buildings and/or Department of Housing Preservation and Development subsequent to a 311 complaint determines that the housing option does not meet any of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section, the shelter provider may make the referral. In the event a client refuses the referred housing option, the reason(s) for the refusal must be documented in the client’s case record.
  5. Shelter providers must distribute to all clients in shelter a plain language document that describes the conditions that preclude a referral to a housing option meeting one or more of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) of this section and contains information about how to contact the Department of Buildings and the 311 citizen service center.

Chapter 3: Single Adult Homeless Shelter

§ 3-01 Single Adult Resource Assessment.

(a) Definitions.

   (1) Official shelter: The single adult shelter to which an adult shelter client has been assigned, following intake and assessment.

   (2) Extended absence: An exit from the single adult shelter system lasting at least 30 consecutive days.

   (3) Returnee: An adult shelter client who returns to a single adult shelter after an extended absence and within 365 days.

   (4) Single Adult Resource Assessment: An assessment to identify alternative housing options available to a Returnee and to connect a Returnee to resources or benefits to avoid re-entry into shelter.

   (5) Diversion services: Services offered at a single adult intake center directed at finding non-shelter housing alternatives and resources.

   (6) Diversion office: An office located at a single adult intake center that provides diversion services.

  1. Upon a Returnee’s return to the adult shelter system, shelter staff must determine whether, based on the entirety of the Returnee’s circumstances, the Returnee will return to his or her official shelter or be referred to a diversion office for a Single Adult Resource Assessment. Factors whose presence would allow the Returnee to return to his or her official shelter and not be referred for a Single Adult Resource Assessment include but are not limited to:

   (1) The Returnee has a mental or physical disability;

   (2) Either the Returnee, or the primary tenant of the residence where the Returnee had been living prior to returning to shelter, has been evicted;

   (3) A vacate order has been issued for the residence where the Returnee had been living during his or her extended absence;

   (4) The Returnee was recently discharged from a prison, hospital, residential treatment facility, or other institution;

   (5) The Returnee is a victim of domestic violence; or

   (6) The Returnee has been living on the street.

If one or more of these factors are present, the Returnee must be assigned a bed at his or her official shelter. If a bed at the official shelter is unavailable, the Returnee must be given alternate placement until a bed at the official shelter becomes available. If none of these factors are present, shelter staff must refer the Returnee to a diversion office for a Single Adult Resource Assessment.

  1. If shelter staff determines that the Returnee must be referred for a Single Adult Resource Assessment, the Returnee must appear in person at a diversion office. DHS must provide transportation services or MetroCards to transport the Returnee to a diversion office. No Returnee will be transported at a time, or in a manner, that would be unsafe for the Returnee due to illness or intoxication.
  2. Single Adult Resource Assessment.

   (1) Upon the Returnee’s arrival at a diversion office during regular business hours for conducting Single Adult Resource Assessments, diversion staff must conduct a Single Adult Resource Assessment with the Returnee.

   (2) If the Returnee arrives at a diversion office after regular business hours for conducting Single Adult Resource Assessments, he or she must be temporarily assigned a bed and provided meals and shower facilities at the diversion office until a Single Adult Resource Assessment can be conducted the next business day.

  1. Following the Single Adult Resource Assessment, if the Returnee does not have an alternative housing option, or has such an option but does not wish to return to or utilize the option, he or she must be referred back to his or her official shelter as soon as a bed is available. If a bed at the official shelter is unavailable, the Returnee must be given alternate placement until a bed at the official shelter becomes available.
  2. For a Returnee who is not referred to a diversion office for a Single Adult Resource Assessment, diversion staff may, at their discretion, conduct such an assessment over the phone with the Returnee at his or her official shelter.