Statement by Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, February 6, 2019:
“New York City’s Special One-Time Assistance Program (SOTA) Program which provides homeless shelter residents with a year of free apartment rent upfront has serious defects and is causing a burden on the City of Newark and program participants. Numbers of these residents are coming to Newark. The individuals that come here under the SOTA program often land in uninhabitable and illegally converted apartments, which does nothing to break the homelessness cycle, but benefits negligent landlords, and makes an already vulnerable population susceptible to being homeless again. When the one year of rents expires, participants are abandoned without support from New York City and left to become dependent upon Newark social services.
“We ask that New York City reevaluate and strengthen their SOTA Program by: inspecting all apartments in conjunction with Newark city inspectors, giving participants the option to return to New York City and receive shelter and services if they become homeless, ceasing 12-month payment upfront to landlords, moving to monthly payment, and providing ongoing support to clients by NYC social services for the duration of the program and beyond if necessary.”