Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to New York City: We Reject Your Offer, Treat us Fairly
YONKERS, NY – January 7, 2020 – In attempts to negotiate proper communication between New York City and Yonkers regarding the Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) homeless program, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today rejects New York City’s conditions and insists Yonkers be provided the same agreement as Newark, NJ, which currently is involved in a federal lawsuit with New York City.
“We want the same deal New York City afforded Newark, which is joint inspections of building and housing conditions before homeless are moved to Yonkers,” said Mayor Spano.
Pending the court’s ruling in Newark’s case, New York City agreed to provide Newark with a confidential list of persons who were being moved there, along with their addresses. Newark and New York will work together to inspect those apartments and homes for housing code violations.
Mayor Spano added, “If these conditions can be agreed upon with another municipality, why can’t they be done with Yonkers? Instead, New York is placing restrictions on Yonkers, such as the type and number of buildings. Yonkers is being short shrifted. We reject New York’s offer and demand to be treated fairly.”
New York City’s SOTA provides homeless individuals or families who have been in a shelter for at least 90 days with one year's rent into housing within New York City or another state. Yonkers, like other cities across the country, has not been given the courtesy by New York of disclosing where, who and how many individuals are being sent.
“Whether you are paying a bad landlord upfront or monthly, you are still paying a bad landlord. You are still exporting your homeless to other municipalities and potentially placing families in substandard housing. This program is flawed and New York needs to take a serious look at how it treats its homeless and their neighbors,” commented Mayor Spano.
The Westchester County Department of Social Services manages the care and well-being of the county’s homeless population, who are often sent to Yonkers for overnight sheltering and daily intake services.
Mayor Spano said, “I am asking Westchester County to support us in our efforts and take a more active role in these negotiations with New York. We need to work together and support our local communities, collectively.”
“While we are sympathetic to the needs of these individuals, Yonkers serves as the county’s largest city and is already overly burdened by the county’s homeless. We are asking that New York be transparent with us and the county so we can work together to solve for needs of our most underserved population,”added Mayor Spano.
Last month, Mayor Spano filed a FOIL request seeking all records of payments made to Yonkers landlords under New York City’s controversial Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) program. Yonkers has not yet received a response with the requested documents.