Class Action Settlement Will Make Homeless Shelters More Accessible To Those With Disabilities

A proposed settlement in a class action case, Butler v. City of New York, will make the homeless shelter system accessible for disabled New Yorkers. The case was brought by The Legal Aid Society with our pro bono partners, White & Case on behalf of Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) and Coalition for the Homeless, as well as several named plaintiffs.

The proposed settlement will be reviewed at a fairness hearing on September 7th in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Robert W. Sweet. The settlement agreement is with the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and a class of individuals who have a disability and who currently live in shelter, who will seek shelter in the future, or who tried to access shelter on or after May 14, 2012.

If approved, the settlement will result in the City changing its policies, practices, and facilities to make them more accessible to people with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations. It will also require DHS to train its staff on the rights of people with disabilities, as well as making it easier for disabled individuals to request reasonable accommodations in shelter.

For more information about the fairness hearing and the settlement:

Josh Goldfein, Beth Hofmeister and Kathryn Kliff from the Homeless Rights Project are the lead attorneys on the case with supervision by Ken Stephens and Judith Goldiner of the Civil Practice Law Reform Unit. HRP’s current paralegal Dylan Colbert and former paralegals Nisa Sheikh and Mollie Kuether also provided essential support on this matter.