NYC alters policies harming homeless domestic victims

Photo: Frank G. Runyeon
Margarita says the shelter system has done more injustice than her abuser.

NYC alters policies harming homeless domestic victims

NYC alters policies harming homeless domestic victims
January 19, 2016

New York City will change procedures for counting and evaluating homeless domestic violence victims as part of a 90-day review ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month. The changes, which followed inquiries by New York Nonprofit Media, City & State's sister publication, mark a departure from official practices that advocates have said were part of a system that often forces domestic violence victims to spend years cycling between city-run and specialized nonprofit-run shelters due to insufficient funding.

A city spokesperson outlined two principal changes.

First, the city will resume reporting the number of domestic violence victims in New York City shelters to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for their national report on homelessness after three years of electing not to do so. This will better inform policymakers of the importance of addressing domestic violence as a driver of homelessness, advocates have argued, and could boost funding for specialized housing, which is currently overwhelmed by requests from domestic violence victims.

Second, the city’s Department of Homeless Services will begin providing child care during sensitive intake interviews, instead of requiring children to be present. Removing children from the interview room would prevent what advocates described as additional trauma caused by children hearing a parent recount specific details of domestic violence. 

To read the full story, visit our sister site, New York Nonprofit, here.

Frank Runyeon
Frank G. Runyeon
is City & State’s senior reporter. He covers state politics and investigations.