Kyle Rapiñan, the Director of Survival and Self-Determination, and legal interns, Milo Inglehart and Heather McLinn, attended the recent HRA roundtable discussion and are pleased to report back on the progress that the Human Resources Administration (HRA) is making to address our community’s needs!
The Human Resources Administration and Department of Homeless Services Improve Transfers for Youth Aging out of the System
In the meeting, HRA said that the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will be working closely together to make sure that young people aging out of youth shelters will have an easier time transitioning to DHS shelters.
Youth in DYCD shelters do not need to report to intake centers to get fingerprinted if they consent to having their information shared and moved from DYCD to a DHS shelter. Before this policy change, youth had to report to a DHS intake shelter and that was a significant barrier facing many people.
Marsha’s House has 20 more beds! See this flier for more information.
After years of organizing and activism by queer and trans advocates, the city has finally opened a shelter for LGBTQIA people! The shelter is called Marsha’s House; it is located in the Bronx and it will serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming single adults under the age of 30. Check out the news report.
If you are a queer or trans person aging out of DYCD, you may have an easier time getting into Marsha’s House. If you are not transferring from DYCD, you must report to an intake shelter to begin the intake and assessment process, which could take up to three weeks.
Assessment shelter’s addresses are located online here. As of this blog post and for ease, the addresses are listed below:
- Families with Children – Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH), 151 E. 151st Street, Bronx, NY 10451
- Adult Families – Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC), 400-430 E. 30th Street, New York, NY 10016
- Single Adult Men – 30th Street Intake Center, 400-430 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016
- Single Adult Women – HELP Women’s Shelter, 116 Williams Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
- Single Adult Women – Franklin Shelter, 1122 Franklin Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456
Please note, Marsha’s House does not hold beds, but they will try to make your experience there as affirming as possible. Marsha’s House currently has very limited medical and mental health services and they are unable to provide ongoing counseling or mental health treatment. If you require wraparound services, you may need to go to a mental health shelter or another provider.
At the roundtable discussion, it came to our attention that some community members have been transferred out of Marsha’s House because the mental health services they offered were not sufficient for the needs of the individual, despite wanting to stay. That being said, Marsha’s House said they work with the individual to make sure they have everything they need to stay, and if it can’t be provided, then they may be transferred.
If you have any complaints or concerns about Marsha’s House, you can contact 311 or email lgbtqia [at] hra [dot] nyc [dot] gov. You may also contact Kaedon Grinnel, Shelter Director at Kaedon [dot] grinnell [at] projectrenewal [dot] org or 212-913-9993, extension 250. Finally, you can reach out to the Director of Social Services at Marsha House, Kellie Rivera, at kellie [dot] rivera [at] projectrenewarl [dot] org or 212-913-9993, extension 254.
We asked whether or not Marsha’s House holds beds for trans people who disappear or are not able to report back before the curfew time due to transphobia and other issues. The answer was no, but HRA reported that they do try to make an affirming space, and if people let the shelter system know they have doctor appointments or they have to care for an ailing parent or other concerns, HRA will try to make accommodations.
Other advocates pressured HRA and DHS to improve the intake process because clients report that going to the intake centers can be very anxiety-inducing or stressful for those who live with mental health concerns or come from other marginalized identities. Furthermore, requirements like being fingerprinted are triggering for those who have been forced to deal with police or immigration officials. Finally, advocates explained that many clients are unable or unwilling to participate in the days-long intake process and that HRA and DHS should continue to streamline the process so people can get housing as fast as possible.
DHS to Improve Services for People with Disabilities
Due to a pending settlement, Butler v. City of New York, the city has agreed to improve services for people living with mental and physical disabilities. DHS has agreed to ensure access to reasonable accommodation requests (RAs), where folks can request accommodations to policies, practices, or facilities based on a disability, and to make them more likely to be granted. The city will also assess their own policies and troubleshoot for any regulations that disproportionately affect those with disabilities. Finally, they have agreed to train staff about the rights of people living with disabilities and the stipulations of the settlement itself, so that all staff is updated about the current rules and regulations for people with disabilities.
This is a class action lawsuit where the settlement has not yet been finalized. Folks qualify as class members and are covered by this settlement if they:
- Have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means they have a physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity; AND
- Are currently living in the DHS shelter system; OR they tried to access services or received any services through the DHS shelter system after May 14, 2012; OR they will try to access or receive services through the DHS shelter system in the future. At this point, class members have a right to inform the court that they have a problem with the proposed settlement.
Class Members can object in person by coming to the hearing on September 7, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 18C in Manhattan. Class Members may also object by sending a letter marked “Butler Class Action” and postmarked by September 2, 2017, to the Court at the address listed above, with a copy sent to the following: The Legal Aid Society, Attn: Joshua Goldfein, 199 Water Street, New York, New York 10038.
SRLP will continue to fight to hold HRA, DHS, and DYCD accountable and to make sure that the government treats transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people with respect and dignity. If you’d like to learn more, get involved at SRLP!