NYC Agrees To Temporarily Stop SOTA Placements In Newark

Marla Diamond
December 10, 2019 - 7:26 am
NY/NJ mayors

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City agreed Monday to temporarily stop sending homeless families to Newark following complaints of deplorable living conditions.

Newark filed a federal lawsuit against New York City, claiming  case workers pressured people to move to the Brick City, but did not check on the conditions of the apartments where they were placed. 

In seven hours of closed door meetings with a federal judge, attorneys representing New York City agreed to suspend the so called SOTA (Special One-Time Assistance Program) program while units are inspected and conditions are improved in vermin-infested apartments with no heat and dangerous living conditions. 

New York City will also share all the addresses of current SOTA recipients with Newark, and New York City and Newark will together inspect those units.

"This Administration wholeheartedly believes that people have the right to a roof over their heads and to choose where they want to live. In the spirit of productive conversations and with the goal of moving toward an improved program, we will be temporarily pausing placements in Newark. We will be back in court on Thursday and if a satisfactory agreement is not met, we will file a formal challenge to the ordinance the next day," said Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesperson Freddi Goldstein in a statement.

With a lack of affordable housing, New York City relies on cities in the region where the cost of living is lower to place some $1,200 working homeless families.

In an interview on NY1, de Blasio says they've seen positive results.

"Here are people getting into a home. We want to make sure, of course, it's a quality situation. It's a situation that will help people get back on their feet just the way you said. So far we've seen some real evidence," he said. "So far we've seen a lot of people get back on their feet, we want to keep building on that."

Both cities are due back in court on Thursday and the outcome could terminate how the SOTA program currently operates now.

De Blasio has made it clear the city will fight to keep the relocation program.

The city of Elizabeth said it will join Newark's lawsuit later this week.