Bill S973-2011

Requires limit to maximum length of stay at residential program for victims of domestic violence

Requires limit to maximum length of stay at residential program for victims of domestic violence.





BILL NUMBER:S973               REVISED 01/10/2011

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to residential services for victims of domestic violence

PURPOSE: This bill would extend the maximum amount of days victims of domestic violence may stay in residential programs from 135 days to 180 days, ensuring additional time for them to secure permanent housing.

DESCRIPTION: This bill would amend the Social Services Law by amending section 459-b adding an additional clause stating that rules and regulations regarding length of stay in residence programs for victims of domestic violence, enforced by the Office of Children and Family Services, should not be any time less than 180 days.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: New York State is the only-state in the nation that provides welfare based shelter programs, and to qualify, one must receive public assistance. It has been shown that victims of domestic violence have the highest rate of leaving public assistance than any other group, and that these victims typically use public assistance as a means to secure permanent housing away from their abuser - which can take as long as a year.

Currently, domestic violence victims may not stay in residential programs more than 90 days. under special circumstances, those in need of emergency shelter, may stay up to an additional 45 days. In its 2003 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature, the Office of Children and Family Services found an overall increase in shelter denials to domestic violence victims and their families. Recent studies indicate that approximately 20% of those denied are either forced out or discharged because they stayed the maximum amount of days legally allowed (New Destiny Housing Agency) .

In March 2005, the New York City Public Advocate released a report detailing the many issues facing victims of domestic violence, including housing. The report highlights the frequent situation women often face as they are forced to leave residential programs because they have stayed the maximum amount of days allowed by current law. As a result, this legislation seeks to address the specific problem of length of stay by extending the amount of time an eligible domestic violence victim may remain in a shelter. According to the New York State Office of Prevention of Domestic Violence, there is only minimal additional costs associated with housing victims for an extended period of time, and domestic violence agencies agree that this legislation is necessary.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Senate: 2009-10: S.5043A - Passed Senate 2008: Referred to Social Services Committee 2006: Referred to Social Services Committee

Assembly: 2009-10: A.455A (Jacobs) - Referred to Social Services

FISCAL IMPACT: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after becoming a law; with provisions.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 973 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. HASSELL-THOMPSON, ADAMS, DIAZ, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY, OPPENHEIMER, PERKINS, SAMPSON, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to residential services for victims of domestic violence THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 459-b of the social services law, as added by chap- ter 169 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: S 459-b. Residential services for victims of domestic violence. In accordance with section one hundred thirty-one-u of this chapter and the regulations of the [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, a social services district shall offer and provide necessary and avail- able emergency shelter and services FOR UP TO NINETY DAYS at a residen- tial program for victims of domestic violence to a victim of domestic violence who was residing in the social services district at the time of the alleged domestic violence whether or not such victim is eligible for public assistance; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH LAW, RULES AND REGU- LATIONS SHALL PERMIT UP TO TWO EXTENSIONS OF UP TO FORTY-FIVE DAYS OF NECESSARY AND AVAILABLE EMERGENCY SHELTER AND SERVICES AT A RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IF NEITHER THE RESIDENT, THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT NOR THE RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM IS ABLE TO SECURE ALTERNATIVE HOUSING, AS DEFINED BY REGULATION, FOR THE RESIDENT AND SUCH HOUSING IS NECESSARY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediately the commissioner of the office of children and family services is authorized and directed to promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary to implement the provisions of this act on or before its effective date.


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