Mayor: New York City is abandoning their homeless in Newark

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The mayor of Newark says that a New York City-based program is leaving people stranded in New Jersey without any help.

The Special Onetime Assistance (SOTA) Program pays the rent of a homeless person for one year. SOTA places a homeless individual in housing and relocates them either within New York City itself or in nearby cities like Newark.

Mayor Ras Baraka says that while he believes the program is a good idea, he says that the way New York is running the program is leaving cities like Newark with a host of problems.

“Some of them have poor conditions, whether its rodents or no heat, no hot water. Other kinds of violations,” Baraka says.

He says that these issues quickly become Newark’s to clean up. He says that after the person’s year is up, they often come to the city asking for help.

“To add or increase that burden is too much, particularly since we’re not getting resources to support us with that,” the mayor says.

The New York City Department of Homeless Services says that they have high standards when it comes to placement. The agency says that they are “aggressively investigating cases” where their clients have been victimized and will be going after the people involved to hold them accountable.

But Baraka says that it will take the two cities working together for the SOTA program to be successful.

"How do they know if it's not been illegally converted into a two-family or a three-family [home]? How do they know that they're not supposed to be any residents in that area? They don't because they haven't had a conversation with us in Newark,” Baraka says.

The mayor says that the city is looking to pass an ordinance to “make it difficult for New York City or any city to use a voucher to send people” into Newark. Baraka says that he hopes to have the rules in place very soon.

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