The city of New York has filed a lawsuit against Newark, claiming that Newark cannot prohibit New York from relocating homeless families there, NJ.com reported Tuesday.
New York's counter-suit was filed in response to a lawsuit filed by Newark against New York over the controversial relocation program, through which New York places homeless families in cities across the country and provides landlords a year's rent up front. Newark has received 1,200 families under the program in the last two years.
New York City began looking for housing outside its own borders to relieve the strain on its homeless shelters. But officials in Newark and other receiving communities -- including other cities in Essex and Union counties -- have complained that they had not been alerted to the relocations in advance and that the families were placed in substandard housing, including in homes without heat or infested with vermin.
Newark and other receiving communities have also said that the practice of paying the landlords a year's rent in advance has made it harder to ensure the families are placed in adequate housing.
Newark's lawsuit sought to end the relocations until a compromise could be reached. New York earlier this month agreed to temporarily halt the program and also agreed to alert Newark to the arrival of families, as well as the addresses to which they've been assigned so the homes can be inspected.
An attorney for Newark, Kenyatta Stewart, told NJ.com New York's suit was without merit.
“We disagree with the thought of it being unconstitutional,” he said. “Newark has a legitimate reason for why we need protections to be put in place and it all comes down to making sure everyone is safe while they’re in the city and ensuring that people aren’t set up to be homeless.”
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