MANHATTAN — A state appeals court shot down a policy required homeless people to show that they were needy enough to stay in the shelter system, arguing that the city put the rule into place without the required public input.
Under the Bloomberg administration's Department of Homeless Services policy, men and women were required to provide documentation on prior housing, finances and physical or mental illness.
The procedures also required that anyone with $2,000 must exhaust all other housing options before being eligible for shelter.
"Shelter should be a last resort, when all other resources have been exhausted," a city Law Department spokeswoman said. "We are disappointed with the Court's decision today."
The ruling by the 6-judge state Court of Appeals panel, which nullified the policy, upheld a lower court decision that found the city violated a law that requires 30-day notice and public input before instituting the policy.
The city council filed suit in 2011 taking issue with the DHS skipping public input.
"The mayor cannot unilaterally impose policies that would have such significant impact without even notifying the public or receiving comments," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. "We are extremely pleased with today's decision which prevents the Department of Homeless Services from implementing a policy that would have kept thousands of homeless men and women out of shelter."
Homeless advocates also hailed the judges decision.
"When Mayor Bloomberg proposed new rules to deny shelter to our most frail neighbors, we knew that it would undoubtedly result in many more homeless people sleeping on our streets — and we are very grateful New York's highest court effectively stopped the mayor in his tracks," a spokesman for the Coalition for the Homeless said.