The Assembly passed a bill yesterday (A.2651) that would extend the maximum allowable days for victims of domestic violence to be able to stay in residential homeless shelters from 135 to 180 days. This legislation would give victims a more reasonable period of time to secure permanent housing and prevent a future stay in the shelter system.
The concept for this legislation came to the attention of Assemblywoman Jacobs when she read a 2005 report released by the Office of Public Advocate entitled “Safety Shortage: The Unmet Shelter and Housing Needs of New York City’s Domestic Violence Survivors.” The report highlighted the difficulty women face as they are forced to leave residential programs before they have been given the necessary time to find permanent housing and employment to pay for that housing.
According to the report and the information available since, longer stays mean better housing outcomes and less time spent in shelters. This method is more cost effective and increases the likelihood that victims of domestic violence will find work and be able to pay rent.
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs thanked her colleagues for their support in passing this vital piece of legislation stating: “This legislation will improve the overall outcome for families who take the courageous step to flee abusive homes and find refuge in a crisis shelter. By allowing them to stay longer in a safe, stable environment, we are providing women with the chance to get their lives back and move forward,” said Jacobs. “I urge the State Senate to take swift action and pass this bill,” added Jacobs.