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NY court: Singles don't have to prove homelessness

Court rules that single New Yorkers don't have to prove they're homeless to get into a shelter By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Unmarried homeless people don't have to prove that they have no other options before they enter a city shelter, a court ruled Tuesday.

The decision in Manhattan state Supreme Court is in response to a city proposal that would have required people to show they're truly homeless, with documents if possible.

"Today's court ruling declaring the Department of Homeless Services' eligibility requirements for single homeless adults unlawful is a tremendous victory and I commend the court for its action," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement.

The city plans to appeal.

The council voted in December to sue Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration over the policy. The city delayed enacting it pending the court review.

The judge ruled that the mayor's administration didn't communicate properly with City Council when making the policy changes.

Quinn said neither the council nor the public was consulted about a policy that was "cruel and punitive." It would have put thousands more New Yorkers on the street, since it required "people who could least shoulder it" to provide proof they have nowhere else to stay, Quinn said.

Bloomberg responded Tuesday that the same standards should apply to everyone seeking shelter.

Otherwise, the mayor said, judges should explain to New Yorkers "why they think that you should just have a right to walk in and say, 'Whether or not I need services, give it to me.'"

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