News & Press2020-07-09T12:46:59+00:00

News & Press

Our various campaigns which promote the preservation of the social safety net have gained a lot of press coverage.

Read news and press highlights about our current campaigns below.

4 Ways the Next Mayor and City Council Must Do Better on Street and Subway Homelessness

April 27th, 2021|

Gotham Gazette

The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center acquired the reasons for the rejections via the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The results were appalling, and showed the extent to which the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) take a hands-off approach to the supportive housing application process. People were rejected because of their mental illness, the very reason supportive housing would likely have been a great fit in the first place.

David Rockwell Wants Us to Never Forget Their Faces

March 18th, 2021|

CURBED

For the past year, Peter Malvan has been working with Midnight Run, the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, and other groups to help the city’s unhoused. This has been especially challenging during COVID, with people fearing that the crowded conditions in the shelters would spread infection. “I’m disabled, but I like to keep busy,” he says. “I used to go to offices for in-person meetings. When virtual meetings happened, that got interesting because my phone doesn’t always work. I didn’t get paid, but I worked.”

MTA sticks to its guns regarding policies restricting homelessness in subways despite lawsuit

February 16th, 2021|

AM NY

A lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority alleges that rules adopted by the agency to clear stations and trains of homeless men and women are discriminatory, namely by restricting people from remaining in stations for over an hour at a time. Urban Justice Center (Safety Net Project) and Picture the Homeless file the Article 78 petition in New York County Supreme Court on Thursday and the MTA is not backing down

Advocates for Homeless Sue N.Y.C. Subway System Over Covid Rules

February 12th, 2021|

New York Times

 But the rules exempt so many activities from the one-hour limit — including public speaking, campaigning, leafleting, artistic performances and collecting money for religious or political causes — as to make it “clearly apparent” that their real purpose is to exclude homeless people from the subways, the suit says. The lawsuit was filed by the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project on behalf of Picture the Homeless and a homeless man named Barry Simon.

Lawsuit: The MTA Is Using The Pandemic To Exclude Homeless From The Subways

February 12th, 2021|

Gothamist

"The rules are not about 'safeguarding public health' and ensuring that essential workers are 'able to maintain social distancing,' but rather are about permanently excluding homeless persons from the subway system," the lawsuit states.The complaint was filed by the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, Picture the Homeless, and Barry Simon, a disabled homeless shelter resident who has been ejected from subway stations because of the new rules.

New York’s New Eviction Moratorium Protections Are Not Automatic. Here’s What You Need to Do

January 7th, 2021|

The City

Marika Dias, director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, said: “It’s obviously going to be helpful to a lot of tenants. But it’s not a real eviction moratorium, which would be a blanket protection… . It requires tenants to take a step to access the protection, which always makes it likely folks will slip through the cracks.”

New NYC Eviction Cases Start To Move As State Teases Action

December 23rd, 2020|

Law 360

But Marika Dias, managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, called it "entirely unjust and shameful" that the courts have begun issuing default judgments in these cases. Tenants have run into trouble when they try to answer their petitions by phone, as the courts have instructed them to do, she said.

NYC Marshals Carry Out First Evictions Since Pandemic Onset

November 25th, 2020|

Law 360

"Without a comprehensive eviction moratorium, tenants are now being put out onto the streets, in the middle of a pandemic and heading into the winter," said Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. "This is simply cruel."

First Tenant Evicted in NYC since the Pandemic Started. Here’s What It Means

November 24th, 2020|

The City

Marika Dias, a tenant attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, said: “We really have reached a moment where it’s clear that the lack of political action does not just have hypothetical consequences, but it has the very real consequences that people are being put out of their homes in the middle of a pandemic.

NYers Are Getting Evicted During the Pandemic. Lawmakers Must Act Now.

November 24th, 2020|

City Limits

There are now more than 200,000 families across New York State in eviction court. Since Cuomo opened the door to new eviction cases in June, over 33,000 cases have been filed. With a million-plus New York tenants behind on their rent, this number will continue to rise.‘ - Marika Dias

Big Response, Huge Need: NYC’s Welfare System Amid COVID-19

November 23rd, 2020|

City Limits

"Indeed, for those who strike out online, HRA offers a telephone Infoline... In August the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center reported that in an informal audit of 98 calls to the hotline, 58 percent were dropped. “In addition to dropped calls, we also documented significant issues with language access, uninformed workers, and confusing menus,” the report contended. “Overall, the Infoline was found to be ineffective.”

NY Gov. Orders Eviction Default Buffer In Wake Of Atty Pleas

November 5th, 2020|

Law 360

"Leaving it up to individual judges to decide behind closed doors when they are considering a landlord's request for a default judgment is... bound to lead to a range of inconsistent results," said Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center.

NYC Tenant Attys Urge State, Courts To Prevent Default Spike

October 30th, 2020|

Law 360

"You've lost your case simply by virtue of the fact that you didn't file an answer," said Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. "That's not irreversible, but that's not a strong position to be in. You have to show both that your case has merit and that you have an excusable reason for the default."

Nearly 10K NYC Eviction Notices Filed This Summer, a 74% Drop

October 2nd, 2020|

City Limits

"And so what the governor’s done is not issue a universal eviction moratorium. It’s not really even a general moratorium,” said Marika Dias, Director of the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project and Steering Committee member of the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition.

NY Gov. Expands Eviction Defense Law, Not Moratorium

September 29th, 2020|

Law 360

"I think what the governor's press team tells us is what the governor's intentions were," said Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. "Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide the scope of the language of the [order] and what it covers."

New MTA Rules Are Criticized As ‘Anti-Homeless’

September 24th, 2020|

NYC Streets Blog

“The MTA is opportunistically using the pandemic to make long-sought anti-homeless measures permanent, right at a time when the city’s homeless population is most vulnerable,” said Helen Strom from the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center.

CDC Eviction Rule Likely To Have Limited Reach In NYC

September 14th, 2020|

Law 360

"We are basically telling folks they should not submit a declaration without getting legal advice first," said Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. "For most people, the declaration makes admissions without the moratorium actually offering them much benefit right now."

Mixed Reception For Trump CDC’s Eviction Ban

September 2nd, 2020|

Law 360

Marika Dias, attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, noted that evictions in the state typically take longer than four months to resolve, likely pushing pandemic-related disputes past the Dec. 31 threshold.

NY Courts Say State Has 1 Month To Act On Eviction Hold

September 1st, 2020|

Law 360

"Currently, in New York City alone, there are over 14,000 households with pending eviction warrants who are in imminent danger of displacement," Marika Dias, managing director of the Urban Justice Center's Safety Net Project, said in a Tuesday statement to Law360.

As New York Hurtles Toward an Eviction Crisis, These Are the Tenants Most at Risk

August 19th, 2020|

Curbed NY

Marika Dias, the managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, stresses it’s a small but critical change that gives those tenants a last-ditch effort to defend their homes, but it’s still a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. “That’s a much better situation than what we were going to see unfold,” says Dias. “That said, people are not going to suddenly have their job or their health restored come October 1. The situation demands a political solution.”

NY Courts Say Eviction Pause Continues, For Now

August 10th, 2020|

Law 360

"Cuomo's order gives permission for the courts to maintain a pause on eviction cases moving forward, but he's not requiring them to," said Marika Dias, managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. "So we could see a situation where the courts decide that even though they have permission to pause, they don't have to. Cuomo has taken no steps to prevent that."

Can NYC Reopen Its Housing Courts Safely?

August 3rd, 2020|

Commercial Observer

“There are questions about how to conduct something as complex as a trial, where people need to be able to cross-examine and raise objections of someone giving testimony, when they aren’t in the physical presence of the witness,” said Marika Dias, the managing director of the Safety Net project at the Urban Justice Center.

NYC courts could face wave of post-pandemic eviction cases

July 12th, 2020|

Daily News

Marika Dias, director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, said it was critical that tenants know that while evictions are slowly starting to be filed, the process for considering the case and obtaining an order to leave an apartment remains on pause.

Brooklyn To Resume Some Pre-Pandemic Housing Trials

July 9th, 2020|

Law 360

Marika Dias, managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, urged the court to reverse course "immediately." "NYC housing court's indication that they intend to move forward with eviction trials is dangerous and shows a complete disregard for the lives of tenants, their families and the community at large," she said. "It is also entirely at odds with the directive from New York state's chief administrative judge, which explicitly suspends all eviction cases statewide until further notice."

State of NYC Housing on All of It w/ Alison Stewart

July 6th, 2020|

Alison Stewart - NPR

Marika Dias, tenant attorney and director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, explains what tenants should know about the new Tenant Safe Harbor Act, and why many are still pushing for rent during the pandemic to be cancelled altogether.

The Effort to Move Every Homeless New Yorker Into a Hotel

June 26th, 2020|

Next City

The Homeless Can’t Stay Home campaign launched in March. While its founding organizations, including Human.NYC, VOCAL NY and the Safety Net Project, a division of the Urban Justice Center, push for the city to take on a coordinated effort to move unsheltered people into hotel rooms, the campaign has also raised $128,000 through a GoFundMe, which has allowed them to house about 28 people in hotel rooms.

As Moratoriums Start to Lift, Preparing for an Eviction Wave

June 25th, 2020|

Shelter Force

“We’re really trying to make sure that tenants have access to information,” says Marika Dias, managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. The Urban Justice Center is one of more than 25 tenant advocacy groups that are part of the Right to Counsel Coalition in New York City.

NY Atty Confusion, Concern Around New Virus Eviction Rule

May 13th, 2020|

Law 360

"What Cuomo is proposing beginning June 20 is not a moratorium but is prohibiting certain types of cases," Marika Dias, managing director of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center, told Law360. "What that means in practice is that it's going to shift the onus onto the tenants to make sure they fit into that category."

Cuomo’s New Order Opens the Door to Evictions

May 12th, 2020|

City Limits

By SNP's E.D. Marika Dias:
By opening the door to all these new eviction cases and evictions, the new executive order will quickly take us back to overcrowded housing courts and families facing homelessness—both of which are guaranteed to endanger individual and public health. Cuomo didn’t extend the moratorium, he ended it, outrageously putting all of us at risk.

New Version of Cuomo’s Evictions Ban Seen as Weaker

May 12th, 2020|

City Limits

Marika Dias, managing director of the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, says there are two key categories of tenants that are not covered under the new eviction moratorium: tenants who were being evicted for anything that doesn’t relate to nonpayment of rent (also known as holdover cases) and tenants unable to show that they have faced a financial impact due to COVID-19.

City’s homeless-hotel plan still has holes, advocates say

April 29th, 2020|

Queens Daily Eagle

“While these are certainly steps in the right direction, they are nowhere near what the city could and should be doing right now,” said Craig Hughes, a supervising social worker at the Urban Justice Center Safety Net Project.

Hotels as COVID Convalescent Homes: Challenges for Patients, Staff

April 27th, 2020|

City Limits

Advocates for the homeless like VOCAL-NY, Human.nyc, and the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center have spoken out about their concerns regarding the need for greater assistance to New Yorkers who are homeless and have been able to access the city’s hotel program.

Council bill would house homeless in hotels

April 21st, 2020|

The Real Deal

"Moving homeless New Yorkers immediately out of crowded shelters, off the streets, and into single hotel rooms with private bathrooms is the best way to protect the community from contracting and spreading Covid-19, and further overwhelming our hospitals,” Peter Malvan, an advocate with Safety Net Activists at the Urban Justice Center, said in a statement.

Advocates urge de Blasio, Cuomo to put homeless in unused hotels

April 7th, 2020|

The Telegraph

Advocates and elected officials, including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, are urging Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to house up to 30,000 homeless individuals in unused hotel rooms to help them engage in social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19.

New York City Has Done Almost Nothing to Protect 70,000 People in its Homeless Shelters From Coronavirus Spread

April 2nd, 2020|

The Intercept

Johanna Garcia is doing her best to keep her family and others safe during the coronavirus pandemic. She washes her hands a lot; she cleans constantly; she goes on social distance walks with her kids, 10-month-old Logan and 4-year-old Abigail. But there’s only so much she can do while living at one of New York City’s approximately 450 homeless shelters.

New York City Has Done Almost Nothing to Protect 70,000 People in its Homeless Shelters From Coronavirus Spread

April 1st, 2020|

Recently, the city has been conducting sweeps, but that’s not much of a solution either. “They move to another block or they’re likely arrested,” said Craig Hughes, a social work supervisor with the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that “Unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread of Covid-19.”

Advocates Demand Help for Vulnerable Prisoners, Homeless Folks

March 23rd, 2020|

Gay City News

VOCAL-NY, Communities United for Police Reform, Neighbors Together, human.nyc, Picture the Homeless, and Safety Net Activists at the Urban Justice Center offered specific recommendations in an open letter to Cuomo and de Blasio: Immediately provide services to folks living on the street

Opinion: Youth Homeless Are Falling Through Cracks in COVID-19 Response

March 23rd, 2020|

City Limits

By all reputable predictions, we are only at an early phase of the COVID-19 crisis. Organizations that run shelters, food pantries, and drop-in centers are already facing a confluence of city neglect, staffing crises and exposure to the virus, and as a consequence are steadily limiting and temporarily shuttering services. Runaway and homeless youth (RHY) and programs tailored to serve them, in short supply prior to COVID-19, are facing an unprecedented emergency.

Here’s Why the Homeless Are Enraged by Bloomberg’s Campaign

February 25th, 2020|

The Daily Beast

Maria T. Walles, 49, will never forget the years she spent worrying about where she and her family would sleep on any given night in New York City. Sometimes Walles, her husband, and her 3-year-old daughter stayed in a family shelter. Sometimes they were denied. On those nights, they’d have to leave her toddler daughter with a friend or family member, then split up to go to separate women’s and men’s shelters.

A Guide to Your Rights in Homeless Shelters

February 19th, 2020|

City Limits

"The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, the Safety Net Activists, the Center for Urban Pedagogy and design studio 13 milliseconds this week released a pamphlet outlining the rights that homeless individuals and families have in New York City. It covers everything from privacy to diet, voting to disabilities, public benefits to income savings; explains supportive housing and vouchers; talks about how to get a fair hearing and how to seek permanent affordable housing."

Press Release: From Shelter to Apartment

February 18th, 2020|

From Shelter to Apartment is a guide design to assist homeless New Yorkers navigating the city’s (DHS) shelter system and finding affordable housing, developed in collaboration with the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, the Safety Net Activists, the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and design studio 13 milliseconds.

Amid Youth Homeless Crisis, NYC Has Ramped up Shelter Capacity

February 6th, 2020|

City Limits

“They should immediately provide homeless youth relying on DYCD programs access to local rental subsidies like CityFHEPS, including those young people who only access drop-in sites, as well as priority access to NYCHA and Section 8 vouchers,” says Craig Hughes, a social work supervisor at the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project who is writing a doctoral dissertation on the city’s history of youth homelessness."

SNAP Snapped: City closes food stamp assistance center

July 2nd, 2019|

Manhattan Times

On June 28, the HRA stopped offering assistance for SNAP benefits at its St. Nicholas Center. The center served about 90 individuals per day. In recent weeks, the Safety Net Project spearheaded an effort to keep the center from closing. We organized petition letters and rallied community advocate walks.

Charge City Making It Tougher to Sign Up for Food Stamps

July 1st, 2019|

The Chief Leader

Kiana Davis, a benefits advocate at SNP, discusses the de Blasio administration's use of misleading data to support their closing of an East Harlem snap center. “We think the city has made some misleading statements justifying the closure,” she said during a phone interview. “And we find their statistics highly problematic.”

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We welcome your questions and comments

Main Office

40 Rector Street
New York, NY 10006

Telephone: 646.602.5600

Email: snp@urbanjustice.org

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The Safety Net Project does not conduct client intake at our Rector Street Office. For information about our services and walk-in clinics, check out our legal clinic schedules.

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