Report: Many homeless shelters in NY in poor condition

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – According to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, many of the state’s homeless shelters outside New York City are in substandard condition.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called on the state to improve conditions and respond quickly to improve homeless shelter conditions.

A report on homeless released by the agency found numerous health and safety issues that need to be addressed immediately.

“Despite our best efforts, there continue to be run-down – and sometimes even squalid – shelters that pose a real danger to the health and safety of families and individuals that have nowhere else to go,” DiNapoli said. “It is clear that greater action is needed to ensure that all homeless shelter facilities provide safe accommodations for some of New York’s most vulnerable residents.”

Auditors considered 320 facilities to be in generally adequate condition, but the remaining 67 facilities were in poor or very poor condition. DiNapoli’s auditors found:

  • 45 facilities had one or more health safety issues, including mold, unsanitary restrooms and vermin;
  • 61 facilities had one or more fire safety issues including lack of fire escape; missing or uninspected fire extinguishers; missing or disabled smoke detectors; no carbon monoxide detector; portable heaters in use and exposed electrical wires, among other issues;
  • 37 facilities had personal safety issues, including restroom doors that didn’t lock; unsafe stairs and railings; and unsafe playgrounds; and
  • 20 locations had issues with occupant accommodations, including insufficient bedding; and an insufficient number of toilets, sinks and showers.

The report recommends that a statewide database be put into place to better manage conditions at shelters.

DiNapoli plans on launching an audit of the oversight of hotel and motels used as homeless shelters.

Homeless shelter ratings.

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