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LAS Secures Temporary Halt to Transfers of Homeless Disabled New Yorkers

The Legal Aid Society applauded a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods halting the transfers of homeless disabled New Yorkers from hotel rooms back to local homeless shelters, as reported by the New York Post.

The ruling came after the court heard arguments on a motion filed by Legal Aid and Jenner & Block LLP in Butler v. City of New York, litigation concerning disability-based discrimination in the City’s homeless shelter system. The motion challenged Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent order to move homeless New Yorkers who have been living in hotel rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. These transfers often occurred without notice or due consideration for accommodating disabilities.

“Today’s decision affirms that the City rushed the moves of homeless New Yorkers from safe placements in hotels back to crowded shelters without meeting its obligations, endangering the lives of New York’s most vulnerable residents,” reads a joint statement from Legal Aid and Jenner & Block. “The City cannot phase out the hotel program without ensuring that it meets its obligations
under Butler. We thank the court for recognizing that the City must meet this obligation as prescribed by law.”