ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The City of Elizabeth and Union County have followed through on a previous notice and filed a lawsuit against New York City seeking to stop the Special One Time Assistance Program, also known as SOTA.
Through the program, 48 families sent to Elizabeth were put in houses without heat, hot water and in desperate need of repair. The landlords were paid one year’s rent in advance by New York City.
The move is similar to the City of Newark’s federal lawsuit against New York City filed on Dec. 2, 2019 that askes a judge to immediately stop the program and force NYC to disclose where it has placed 1,200 families now living there.
“The City of Elizabeth has made continuous efforts to work with New York City in finding a resolution, however after numerous failed attempts, the City has decided to file a lawsuit in state court,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage in a statement issued Tuesday. “NYC is trying to relieve their homeless problem by dumping it on municipalities across New Jersey – once they are out of their state, there is no follow up with these participants – they are on their own.”
CBS2’s investigative series “Forgotten Families” revealed homeless families were moved from New York City shelters to houses in several New Jersey cities. Some of the houses
According to the mayor, the SOTA program began in 2017 and Union County was added to the program as an out-of-city relocation destination, without notice, in August 2019.