New York State's regulations limit a family seeking safety in a domestic violence shelter to a maximum of 135 days. Those 30-year old regulations don't account for changes in the economy or the decreased availability of safe housing in New York's metropolitan areas. More days are needed to help stabilize families and to find safe housing and viable jobs.
New York State has eliminated the housing subsidy allowing victims two years of rent assistance to help them get back on their feet. With no good alternatives in sight, victims are returning to unsafe situations. Families need the extra 45 day extension to get their lives together so their exit from shelters can be done safely.
We have just learend that the senate leadership is calling for senators to come back to Albany for s pecial sessioin in the next few weeks. We want S973 to be one of the pieces of legislation that they pass. Write to key New York State senators and urge them to pass Senate Bill 973. Please respond immediately as New York's legislative session is coming to a close.
In order to stay safe, a family must establish themselves in a safe neighborhood, change schools, day care, medical providers, faith communities and jobs, as well as cut themselves off from any social supports where an abuser might find them. The potential for violence escalates when a family escapes to a shelter. Many victims need job training before they can become self supporting. For a majority of our families, the present limits of 90-135 days is not enough time to achieve safe outcomes. Too many victims return to unsafe situations because they don't have the time to achieve their goals.
The Office of Children and Family Services' State-wide Task Force on Shelter Length of Stay supported an additional extension to 180 days.
S973 would allow New York State's communities who need the extra time to have that flexibility. It would not force any community without that need to expend additional resources.
A 180 day limit would:
Provide better housing outcomes
Avert Homelessness and Safety Risks.
Increase the likelihood that victims leaving shelters will find work and be able to pay the rent.
LONGER STAYS ARE COST NEUTRAL. No one is proposing expanding the capacity of the domestic violence system, just allowing families the opportunity to create the foundation they need to live safely after a shelter stay.