On December 31, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the Homeless Shelter Notification Bill(A.7820-A; Fall/S.7215-A) introduced by Assemblyman Fall and Senator Savino.
The intent of the legislation is not to prevent homeless shelters from opening to assist women, children or men with appropriate housing, instead, it is about government transparency when community leaders, elected officials and residents raise public safety, transportation and educational accessibility concerns with proposed homeless shelter sites. It is to assure that shelter sites are safe and habitable for its occupants.
The agreement requires the Department of Homeless Services to establish a process for notification of new homeless shelters – excluding short-term emergency homeless shelters - through an information session in the community where the shelter site would be located. The new transparent notification will include elected officials and respective community boards within the district in which the proposed shelter is set to be sited.
Additionally, an annual notice during the first quarter of each calendar year – both electronically and physically – will be required to be sent to federal, state and local elected officials requesting potential locations for homeless shelters. The informational session notices shall be posted publicly on the agency’s website no later than fourteen days before the date of such session is set to occur.
Assemblyman Charles D. Fall (D-Richmond), “I want to first, thank Governor Cuomo, Speaker Carl Heastie and Senator Savino for working with me on passing this important legislation that will bring more transparency to our communities and its leaders when establishing safe housing for our most vulnerable. This bill developed as a direct result of requests from community members across Staten Island and received bi-partisan support from my colleagues in both houses (Assembly vote 139/3; Senate vote 57/3). From day one, I have always supported and encouraged more transparency and accountability between government and our community when policy and proposals are raised.
Senator Diane Savino (D-Richmond/Kings), "Thank you to Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill, and my partner in the Assembly Charles Fall for championing common sense transparency. As the City continues to secure proper housing for citizens, the shelter process currently lacks transparency and puts in danger those most vulnerable, especially those needing the housing. It's time we have an open process to ensure the community and potential residents get a say in their neighborhood, while ensuring proper resources are available to accommodate an influx of future residents."