NYC Charges Working Homeless Shelter Rent

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
A homeless man occupies the doorway of a vacant New York strip club.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – New York City has quietly begun to enforce a 1997 state law requiring homeless shelter residents who have jobs to contribute to the cost of their temporary housing, the New York Times reports. The move, which follows a 2007 audit that forced the city to return funding to the state, will affect around 2,000 of the 9,000 families in shelters. A state official said the percentage of income was not fixed but would not exceed 50%.

“It’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” a city official said. Opponents argue that taking money from homeless residents will keep them in shelters longer, and some families say their rent tops 50% of income. “As a city and a state that has a history of social and economic justice,” one advocate said, “I think we can do better than that.”