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The plan would likely start in September, earning an estimated $2-3 million a year. Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs said, "This is not a moneymaker. We're not doing this to close budget gaps. It's really the principles that are involved." The city tried to implement a plan like this before since state law actually requires New York to charge rent to shelter residents who can afford it, but the Legal Aid Society threatened to sue the city. They're doing the same this time around, saying the plan won't benefit anyone. "It makes far more sense to allow those families to save their meager funds in order to be able to get out of the shelter system sooner," said Steven Banks, chief attorney of the Legal Aid Society. The prices do seem pretty steep. Though a family of three making $10,000 a year would just pay $36 a month in rent, one making $25,000 would have to pay $946 in rent, which doesn't leave much for savings.
Albany is reportedly working on legislation that would reverse the law requiring workers in shelters to pay rent. Coalition for the Homeless senior analyst Patrick Markee said, "You don't balance budgets in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression on the backs of homeless families and children."