If You Are a Person with a Disability and Need Shelter—Know Your Rights

Rulings about shelter for persons with a disability in New York City

Class Action Concerning Access to Shelter for Individuals with Disabilities in the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Shelter System

In 2015, disabled people in shelter sued DHS in a federal class action lawsuit called Butler v. City of New York 15-CV-3783 (RWS) (JLC).

This is a Class Action case, which means that it was brought on behalf of a group of people.

You are a Class Member and covered by this settlement if:

1. You have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means you have a physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity; AND
2. You are currently living in the DHS shelter system; OR you tried to access services or received any services through the DHS shelter system after May 14, 2012; OR you will try to access or receive services through the DHS shelter system in the future.

Both sides in the case want to settle it now, and have asked the judge to approve their settlement. In the settlement, DHS has agreed to make sure people with disabilities can get shelter. DHS has also agreed to change some of its rules to better help people with disabilities.

There are many kinds of disabilities. These might include a wheelchair user or a person who is blind or visually impaired.

Other examples might be that you have a hard time climbing stairs, you need help to see or hear, you are not be able to bathe or dress by yourself, or you have trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions.

The settlement agreement is on the websites of The Legal Aid Society, Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, and DHS: www.legal-aid.org, www.cidny.org, and www.nyc.gov/dhs.

To get a copy of the settlement, or if you have questions, you can call, mail, or email:

The Legal Aid Society Butler v. City of New York Settlement
199 Water Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10038
email: [email protected]
phone: 917-398-3055

Need To Request A Reasonable Accommodation?
Find more information in the links below: 

NYC Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (PDF) »

NYC.gov Applicants and Clients with Disabilities Information Page »