Hanna v. Turner

In 1998, the New York City began denying shelter to homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS, telling such individuals to “make your own arrangements.” Homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS and other accompanying maladies were forced to fight for their survival on the streets—even in the middle of winter. In court, the City argued for the right to turn folks away if they housed them the next day, i.e, if clients survived the night on the streets. In November 1999, Supreme Court Judge Emily Jane Goodman issued a landmark ruling establishing the right of homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS to same-day placement in emergency housing, the first such ruling in the United States.

Beginning in late 2000, New York City again began to routinely deny emergency housing to homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS, a result of the City’s failure, year after year, to construct or secure medically appropriate housing for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. A “Human Rights Watch” was established to chronicle these violations, and with the testimony of current New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Housing Works brought contempt proceedings against the City. In 2001, the Appellate Division unanimously upheld the lower court’s finding of contempt, in which the court ordered the City to pay fines to those denied housing and to immediately provide emergency housing to all such clients.

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