Jersey City joins Newark in federal lawsuit against de Blasio administration

Jersey City’s government is joining a lawsuit against the De Blasio administration over a homeless relocation policy. (Photo: Peter Miller/Flickr Creative Commons)

It is officially a New Jersey dog-pile in the federal lawsuit against the de Blasio administration for its use of the Special One-Time Allowance for homeless families which placed many outside the city and sometimes in the hands of slumlords.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop timed his announcement to join the litigation launched in previous weeks by Newark and Elizabeth with another announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio on a new approach to the homeless crisis.

“We are all for working together on solutions in a transparent way that works for everyone, but up until now the NYC program has been the exact opposite,” a statement from the Jersey City mayor’s office said. “Their plan to ship their homeless population to other cities without proper assistance is not solving the problem, that is abdicating the responsibility.”

The lawsuit claims that recipients of the SOTA program were placed in living situations which found later to be substandard and which the city Department of Homeless Services had not inspected the locations before hand.

The city’s own Department of Investigation had the program, launched in 2017, under scrutiny on similar grounds.

SOTA pays for a year of rent upfront to people experiencing homelessness and while the arrangements are not strictly made outside city limits, it has often taken many across the Hudson River.

Last week, the de Blasio administration said it would put a pause on placing DHS clients in housing in New Jersey through the SOTA program.

The de Blasio administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this development.