Class action settlement expands support for NYC runaway and homeless youth

Sad teenager.
Sad teenager.
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New York City will be required to evaluate whether more youth residential program beds for homeless and runaway young people are needed.

Class action settlement expands support for NYC runaway and homeless youth

New York City will be required to evaluate whether more youth residential program beds for homeless and runaway young people are needed.
December 2, 2020

A federal judge approved a class action settlement that expands access to programs and services supporting runaway and homeless youth in New York City, The Imprint reports. 

Under the settlement, New York City must evaluate whether more youth residential program beds are needed for runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 20 and create a plan to add more beds if necessary. Funding for such beds – which have to prioritize access for 16- and 17-year olds – must also be maintained as long as that demand remains. The city must also create a process so youth discharged from residential facilities have a chance to challenge that discharge. 

The settlement also requires that young people staying in residential programs have the ability to get mental health services if needed. 

“We are very pleased to have an approved settlement that will establish system-changing relief to some of New York City’s most vulnerable youth,” Beth Hofmeister, staff attorney in the Homeless Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

The lawsuit, brought forward in 2013 by The Legal Aid Society and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, alleged that the city was denying needed services and shelter to several runaway and homeless young people. Over the course of the past seven years, the number of shelter beds for youth has grown from 253 to at least 750.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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