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City Promises Bronx Homeless Shelter Not Paid Since January Will Get Funds

By Eddie Small | September 15, 2015 2:59pm
 The city has pledged to pay its homeless shelter providers regardless of any paperwork issues with the comptroller's office.
The city has pledged to pay its homeless shelter providers regardless of any paperwork issues with the comptroller's office.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

THE BRONX — The city will find a way to fund a controversial South Bronx homeless shelter — and any other city contracted shelter — despite any issues their contracts may have with the Comptroller's office, according to Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.

“Ensuring homeless families in need are housed and receive the services they need is our first and foremost priority," he said in a statement. "We won’t let any paperwork issues impede that."

Pyramid Safe Haven, a South Bronx homeless shelter at 470 E. 161st St. run by BronxWorks, opened in January, but BronxWorks has still not received any money from the city for running it, putting the site at risk of closing down, sources said.

The provider has not been paid yet because the Department of Homeless Services' contract for the site has not been registered with the city. Comptroller Scott Stringer's office rejected it in July because it had insufficient documents.

DHS has not resubmitted its contract since that rejection, according to the comptroller's office.

"In regards to Pyramid, we continue to wait for DHS to provide us with the basic information we need to register their contract, and we stand ready to provide the administration with whatever assistance they need in meeting these requirements," said John McKay, spokesman for the comptroller's office.

Shorris said that the city had been consistently providing Stringer's office with the information and paperwork it asks for, and officials would find a way to pay shelter providers regardless of the comptroller's approval or rejection of contracts.

"When this comptroller or any comptroller uses any paperwork processes to improperly slow down the registration of contracts, this mayor like other mayors before him will ensure providers get paid," he said in a statement.

Stringer defended his office's contract rejections in a statement, maintaining that when his office turned down a contract, it did so with good reason.

“The city’s rules give the comptroller’s office a specific mandate," he said. "When this office returns a contract, it’s because it’s missing important information or doesn’t meet the city’s own standards."