NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been three weeks since CBS2 began uncovering some of the forgotten families of New York City.
They were the stories of working parents who were moved out of shelters by the Department of Homeless Services into squalid, uninhabitable homes in New Jersey.
On Thursday, we checked back in with some of the families. For Sade Collington and Kevin Nicholson, little has changed.
HOW TO HELP: Visit the Nicholson family’s GoFundMe page.
HOW TO HELP: Sophia Gurley’s Page On GoFundMe
“This system never fails at failing,” she said. “That’s all they do is fail families consistently, and I’m sick of them failing mine.”
We first met the couple in January at the freezing, unfinished house in East Orange where DHS moved them to last summer. Fast forward to now, and they’re back in a shelter.
On Thursday, DHS sent them to look at apartments with a broker in Brooklyn. The broker thought they were there to sign a lease.
“He didn’t know we didn’t see the apartment,” Nicholson said. “Now it’s gonna be another whole cycle.”
Under the Special One-Time Assistance Program, the city covers one year’s rent for eligible working parents to move out of shelters. With taxpayer money, they pay private landlords roughly $17,000 up front per lease.
Family after family told CBS2 about how DHS pressured them to move out of state, often without inspecting homes. They say when landlords didn’t make necessary repairs, DHS did nothing to help.
“You took us to New Jersey, you had us live in uninhabitable conditions, conditions nobody should have to live in, and yet we are still trying to comply… still trying to do things the way you guys want it done and enough is enough,” Collington said.
“We’ve committed the resources to find other housing for the families you’ve identified,” Banks said.
Asked whether or not that’s accurate, Nicholson said perhaps “Steven banks should talk to us personally.”
Reporter Ali Bauman Talks On Investigating Plight Of NYC’s ‘Forgotten Families’
The Nicholsons aren’t the only forgotten family who says the city isn’t keeping its promise to help them advocate.
“Since the last time we spoke, nobody has reached out,” mother of three Sophia Gurley said.
CBS2 first spoke to Gurley at the Newark house DHS placed her family in which also didn’t have heat or hot water. On Thursday, we caught up with her in Harlem where she stays with relatives as much as possible to avoid her freezing home.
She says all DHS has done since January is mail her a survey asking her to rate the SOTA program.
“This is your definition of help? A survey? I think that’s pretty insulting,” Gurley said.
CBS2 once again asked DHS about the two families on Thursday. A spokesman claimed they reached out to every family we’ve profiled, and are in the process of arranging payment for the new accommodations.