Legislation Extending Maximum Amount of Stay in Residential Programs to be voted on in Social Services Committee.
Albany, N.Y. – (2/7/2012) – On Tuesday, February 7th, Senator Greg Ball (R, C-Patterson) presented the Senate Social Services Committee with legislation extending the maximum amount of days victims of domestic violence may stay in residential programs. The legislation (S6308), sponsored by Senator Ball will extend the maximum amount of days a person or family can stay at a domestic violence facility from 135 days to 180 days.
Currently, New York State is the only state in the nation providing social services based shelter programs and to qualify, the recipient must be on public assistance. Due to the current economy, it can take up to a year to be placed in public housing, making it difficult for these families to secure a safe place to live, when they are only allotted 135 days to start a new life.
“This legislation will help to provide some means of assistance by which blameless victims can regain their independence and a safe, comfortable place to live,” said Senator Ball. “No one should have to live in fear of abuse or mistreatment, and I will certainly look for future opportunities to help strengthen laws that aid victims of domestic violence.”
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.
“This legislation will provide the opportunity for survivors to reenter their community with greater forethought and planning,” said Ann Ellsworth, Executive Director of the Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center. “Survivors are powerful and resilient beings, let us give them the little bit of time they need to take back their lives from their abusers and leave us all happily behind to reenter their lives on their own terms and under their own steam.”
The bill would provide for a second 45 day extension to victims, whether individuals or families, in residential programs if neither the resident or social services is able to secure a permanent living place within the current 135 day limit of stay granted to residents.
“As the legislator who introduced this bill in 2005, I am pleased that the State Senate is finally moving this important safety and quality of life legislation. By extending the length of stay for victims of domestic violence, we are ensuring that they have a greater opportunity to move into safe, permanent housing instead of being forced to either enter the general homeless shelters or return to their batterers,” said Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush). “I fully expect the Assembly to once again pass this legislation and commend the Senate for joining us in our effort to protect these women as they reclaim their lives from the fallout and stigma of domestic violence.”
Senator Golden (R, C) stated, “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that aims to allow victims of domestic violence more time to find permanent housing. It is important that an extension be granted to such victims in order to help them justifiably start a new life. This bill will also prevent New Yorkers afflicted by domestic violence, in some instances, from turning to the streets to live.”
Senator Hassell-Thompson (D, WF), who is also a co-sponsor of the legislation said, “By extending the length of stay in shelters for victims of domestic violence, these individuals and their families are provided with both safety and the extra time needed to secure more permanent housing options. Additionally, when victims of domestic violence are denied these extra days, they are often forced to enter general homeless shelters that lack the same level of confidentiality which is often so critically important to these families.”
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Brittany Oat (845) 200-9716.