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LAS Wins Petition to Intervene on Behalf of Homeless New Yorkers

The Legal Aid Society and Lowenstein Sandler LLP announced that a New Jersey federal judge has granted a motion to intervene in City of Newark v. City of New York, et al. on behalf of individuals who moved or seek to move from a New York City homeless shelter to an apartment in Newark using rent subsidies funded by New York City’s Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) program, reports POLITICO New York.

The lawsuit, brought by the City of Newark, seeks to stop New York City from implementing the SOTA program in Newark, arguing that it violates the dormant Commence Clause and creates a public nuisance. New York City, in turn, asserted counterclaims arguing that the Ordinance violates New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the constitutional right to travel.

The SOTA recipients who are directly affected are now parties to the lawsuit, and Legal Aid and Lowenstein Sandler will work on their behalf to ensure that the SOTA program properly inspects housing in Newark and to stop enforcement of the Ordinance so that SOTA recipients who wish to move to Newark may do so.

“It’s just not right that Newark should say to a whole group of people who would be great citizens of Newark, we don’t want you to move here because of some prejudice they have against homeless New Yorkers,” said Joshua Goldfein, Staff Attorney with the Homeless Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society. “It just so happens that Newark was a place where they had a lot of success using the program because it’s close, it’s convenient with public transportation. You have people who have jobs in the city, they can get to Newark and Newark is affordable to them.”