Suffolk County, NY
 
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[Adopted 9-12-2000 by L.L. No. 23-2000 (Ch. 277, Art. I, of the 1985 Code)]

§ 438-1 Legislative intent.

A. 
This Legislature hereby finds that there is a demonstrated need for congregate emergency shelters for homeless families.
B. 
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to foster communication and cooperation between government agencies, local governments and local communities by establishment of clearly defined procedures for selection of locations for congregate emergency shelters to protect the interests of the homeless while still ensuring acceptance by local communities.

§ 438-2 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of the County Department of Social Services.
CONGREGATE EMERGENCY SHELTER (CES)
A residential facility providing temporary (nondomicile) housing to at least four individuals or families who or which are homeless, for which such temporary use and occupancy of the housing facilities the owner or primary tenant of the property receives compensation, either directly from the temporary occupant or through reimbursement from a third party on behalf of such temporary occupant, or both. The spouse, issue, brother, sister, parent, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, parent-in-law, niece, nephew, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandparent or cousin of an owner of the residential facility, which owner is also occupying the residential facility in question as his or her own domicile, shall not be deemed "an individual receiving treatment" for the purposes of this definition. Said facility may also provide ancillary services such as counseling, treatment or other support services.
DIVISION
The Housing and Adult Services Division within the County Department of Social Services.
MUNICIPALITY
An incorporated village if a facility is to be located therein, or a town if the facility is to be located therein and not simultaneously within an incorporated village.
SPONSORING AGENCY
An agency or unit of government, a voluntary agency or any other person or organization which intends to construct, establish, expand, modify or operate a congregate emergency shelter with the use of government funds, assistance, sponsorship, property or approval.

§ 438-3 Siting procedure; operating conditions.

A. 
If a sponsoring agency intends to establish a congregate emergency shelter within a municipality, it shall notify the Division of its intent to locate such shelter at a specific site in writing and include in such notice a description of the nature and size of the facility.
B. 
The Division shall indicate, in writing, its support or lack of support for the proposed congregate emergency facility based on:
(1) 
The need for the facility in the proposed location.
(2) 
The past performance of the sponsoring agency so that agencies which have been denied licensing, have had licensing revoked, or have been defunded by the Division would not be supported.
(3) 
Proximity to other such facilities, so that no more than four congregate emergency facilities within a two-square-mile area, which would substantially alter the nature and character of the area, would be permitted.
C. 
The Division shall notify the pertinent municipality, and members of the County Legislature, with a written list of all certified congregate emergency shelters on a quarterly basis, including the name of the provider and location of the shelters.
D. 
A congregate emergency shelter shall comply with local zoning and building codes where required by applicable law, subject to the provisions of § 438-8 of this article.
E. 
Any notice provided to a municipality under this article shall also be provided to the County Legislator representing the area in which a site is being considered.
F. 
A congregate emergency shelter shall also comply with the following conditions:
(1) 
It shall be certified by the Division, in accordance with the provisions of § 438-4 of this article, unless it has obtained a certification from a federal or state agency with pertinent jurisdiction, or unless a certification is issued by a state or federal department, office or agency that such congregate emergency shelter is being regulated by that department, office or agency. No person or sponsoring agency shall own, operate or manage a congregate emergency shelter without first obtaining such certification.
(2) 
It shall have at least one trained social worker working on site at least eight hours a day.
(3) 
It shall have twenty-four-hour-per-day supervision of residents.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. IV).
(4) 
A facility shall not be occupied by more than 12 families receiving services (i.e., exclusive of providers).
(5) 
Staff of the congregate emergency shelter shall be fingerprinted and screened for convictions of offenses by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter. Staff of the congregate emergency shelter shall also be screened for referrals to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, and for comparable convictions and referrals in other jurisdictions.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(6) 
Utilization of staff found to be disqualified through the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter shall be prohibited.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(7) 
Any congregate emergency shelter certified by the Division shall apply for a new certification for:
(a) 
Any additional sites; and/or
(b) 
Any modification to or expansion of an existing site.

§ 438-4 Certification requirements.

A. 
Application for certification; qualifications; issuance of certification.
(1) 
All applications for certification shall be submitted in writing on forms furnished by the Division and shall not be accompanied by any application fee or certification renewal fee.
(2) 
The certification application shall be filed by the actual owner, manager or operator of a sponsoring agency that plans to construct, establish, expand, modify or operate a congregate emergency shelter and shall be signed under oath. Where a corporation is an applicant or a participant in an application, the application shall be signed under oath by an officer of such corporation. Two persons or sponsoring agencies may retain such certification if they merge and provide all updated information to the Division regarding such merger.
(3) 
All certifications shall include the residence address and telephone number of the individual who subscribes his or her name to the application.
(4) 
The Division may require the names and residence addresses of any employees or officers of the applicant, in addition to any other information which he or she may deem advisable and proper.
(5) 
An individual applicant must be at least 18 years of age. An individual applicant shall be fingerprinted and screened for convictions of offenses by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter. An individual applicant shall also be screened for referrals to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and for comparable convictions and referrals in other jurisdictions.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(6) 
The Division shall investigate such applicant as to good character before it shall issue the applicant a certification.
(7) 
Applicants shall meet the requirements prescribed by this article and any other rules or regulations promulgated hereunder by the Division.
(8) 
The Division shall issue a certification to each applicant who has submitted satisfactory evidence of his or her qualifications and who has complied with all of the requirements of this article.
(9) 
The Division shall not issue or renew a certification if an individual applicant or the CES staff has been disqualified by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
B. 
Certification term, renewal and conditions.
(1) 
All certifications shall be issued for a period of three years from the date of issuance thereof and shall expire on the last day of the 36th month following such issuance. No certification fee shall be paid upon the issuance of a certification renewal.
(2) 
No certification issued hereunder shall be assignable or transferable except as hereinafter provided. The application for such transferor assignment shall be accompanied by the requirements of Subsection A of this section and by proof satisfactory to the Division that the requirements herein provided have been complied with. No assignment or transfer shall become effective unless and until the endorsement has been made on the face of the certification by the Division and such certification, so endorsed, has been returned to the assignee or transferee. All such endorsements shall be made without payment of any fee.
(a) 
A certification to construct, establish, expand, modify or operate a congregate emergency shelter issued to a person or sponsoring agency may be assigned or transferred to a partnership or corporation for the remainder of the certification period if such individual is a member of such partnership or an officer of such corporation at the time of such assignment of transfer.
(b) 
A certification issued to a partnership may be assigned or transferred to an individual for the remainder of the certification period to any one member of such partnership, provided he or she obtains the consent of all of the other members of such partnership.
(c) 
A certification issued to a corporation may be assigned or transferred to an individual for the remainder of the certification period to any officer of the corporation, provided that he or she obtains the consent of all of the other officers of such corporation.
(3) 
An application for renewal of a certification by a sponsoring agency to construct, establish, expand, modify or operate a congregate emergency shelter shall be made on a form provided by the Division, accompanied by the required fee. Said application shall be filed with the Division not less than 30 days prior to the expiration of the existing certification. Failure to file an application as above shall require the applicant to submit an application as if it were an original application. An application shall be filed with the Division following revocation of a certification. A certification shall expire upon a change of owner or operator, on the date stipulated by the Division, upon revocation, upon death of the certification holder, upon abandonment of the facility or property, or upon surrender to the Division.
(4) 
Each certification holder shall, within 10 business days prior to a change of address or business name, notify the Division in writing of such change.
(5) 
No certification holder shall authorize or permit the use of his or her certification by or on behalf of any other person.
(6) 
Each certification holder shall, within seven business days after a change of address or business name, notify the Division in writing of such change.
(7) 
No congregate emergency shelter shall be eligible for a certification renewal unless such congregate emergency shelter has complied with local zoning and building codes where required by applicable law, subject to the provisions of § 438-8 of this article, and has also complied with the following conditions:
(a) 
It shall have at least one trained social worker working on site at least eight hours a day.
(b) 
It shall have twenty-four-hour-per-day supervision of residents.
(c) 
It shall not be occupied by more than 12 families (i.e., exclusive of the providers).
(d) 
The applicant (if an individual) and the CES staff have been fingerprinted and screened for convictions of offenses by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter. The applicant (if an individual) and the CES staff persons shall also have been screened for referrals to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and for comparable convictions and referrals in other jurisdictions.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(e) 
A certification shall not be renewed if an individual applicant or the CES staff has been disqualified by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
C. 
Fines; suspension or revocation of certifications.
(1) 
The Division shall have the power to impose a civil fine, not to exceed $1,000, upon a person holding a certification or to suspend or revoke a certification or to deny an application for the renewal of a certification for any one or more of the following causes:[1]
(a) 
Fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or bribery in securing a certification.
(b) 
The making of any false statement in an application for a certification.
(c) 
Operation of a congregate emergency shelter without obtaining a certification therefor or, having had a valid certification which has been suspended or revoked, continued operation of such congregate emergency shelter under a suspended or revoked certification.
(d) 
Violation of any other provision of this article or any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder.
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. IV).
(2) 
No certification shall be suspended or revoked nor a fine imposed until after a hearing has been conducted, in accordance with the standards and procedures set forth in Article 2 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code.
(3) 
Any congregate emergency shelter which has been found to have violated the terms and conditions of this article and/or its contract with the Division on more than two occasions, as outlined in Subsection C of this section, shall be immediately defunded, shall have its contract terminated and shall be ineligible for future certification as a congregate emergency shelter with the County of Suffolk.
D. 
Requirements and restrictions. Any person holding a certification under this article shall comply with the following:
(1) 
Any congregate emergency shelter and any of its records required to be maintained by any municipality pursuant to any rules or regulations adopted hereunder shall be open to inspection at any time by the Division or its duly authorized agents at any reasonable time, including, but not limited to, normal business hours. A periodic, unannounced inspection of said facilities by a professional shall be made to check on any violations of this article or any regulations issued pursuant to this article with a written report of said inspection to be sent to the governing agency.
(2) 
Any structure or structures being used as a congregate emergency shelter shall meet the standards promulgated by the County Department of Social Services for the protection of air, land, water and groundwater of Suffolk County.
(3) 
Buildings and grounds of a congregate emergency shelter shall be kept clean, in good repair and free of trash and debris.
(4) 
Records of the source from which any waste material was obtained and the eventual disposition of the waste material shall be kept by the person that owns or operates a congregate emergency shelter for at least a five-year period.
(5) 
Congregate emergency shelter staff and any individual certification holder shall have been fingerprinted and screened for convictions of offenses by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter. CES staff persons and any individual certification renewal applicant shall also have been screened for referrals to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and for comparable offenses and referrals in other jurisdictions.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(6) 
The applicant shall not utilize a CES staff person who has been disqualified by the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her departmental designee, using the background screening procedures established by Article III of this chapter.
[Amended 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]
(7) 
CES staff and any individual certification holder shall have a continuing responsibility to report a conviction for any offense and a referral to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (and comparable convictions or referrals in other jurisdictions) to the Commissioner of Social Services, or his/her designee.
[Added 12-7-2004 by L.L. No. 46-2004]

§ 438-5 Applicability.

A. 
Section 438-3A through F of this article shall apply to the site selection of congregate emergency shelters proposed on or after the effective date of this article. For the purposes of § 438-3A through F of this article, a congregate emergency shelter shall be considered proposed in the case of an existing building when a lease has been submitted for approval and, in the case of a new building, when a governmental agency has been requested to approve funds for actual construction of such facility. Section 438-3A through F of this article shall not apply to existing facilities which have received all necessary municipal approval and permits and which conform to the zoning laws and regulations of the pertinent municipality, except as to proposals to modify or expand such facilities.
B. 
The initial certifications required by §§ 438-3F(1) and 438-4 of this article shall be applied for within 180 days subsequent to the effective date of this article.
C. 
Sections 438-3F(1) and 438-4 of this article shall apply to congregate emergency shelters operating within Suffolk County on or after the effective date of this article, subject to the provisions of Subsection B of this section.
D. 
Section 277-3 of this article shall not apply to scattered site housing where one family is living in a single-family residence.

§ 438-6 Recordkeeping.

All records required by the Division shall be filed with the Director from time to time as required by the Director.

§ 438-7 Rules and regulations.

The County Department of Social Services shall issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it shall deem necessary and appropriate to implement the licensing provisions of this article.

§ 438-8 Compliance with local zoning and building codes required.

Any congregate emergency shelter that is not in compliance with local zoning or building codes, ordinances and/or regulations shall have 60 days from the date of notification by the pertinent town or village to correct the condition. If the shelter fails to comply, the contract shall be terminated by the County Department of Social Services and all payments by the Department shall then cease.

§ 438-9 Reverse preemption.

This article shall be null and void on the day that statewide or nationwide legislation goes into effect, incorporating either the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this article, or in the event that a pertinent state or federal administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations preempting such action by the County of Suffolk. The County Legislature may determine, via mere resolution, whether or not identical or substantially similar statewide legislation has been enacted for the purposes of triggering the provisions of this section.

§ 438-10 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any intentional violation of § 438-3F(1) of this article shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to one year in jail.
B. 
Any violation of any provision of § 438-3F or 438-4 of this article, or of any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder, shall also be punishable, upon proof thereof, by the payment of a civil penalty in the sum of not more than $1,000 for each such violation, to be recovered in a civil action. Each day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.
C. 
Whenever any person has engaged in any acts or practices which constitute repeated or persistent violations of § 438-3F of this article, or any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder, the County Attorney, upon the request of the Director, may commence an action in the name of the County for a restraining order, temporary or permanent injunction, or other equitable relief.