Legislators fight DSS decision to close homeless shelter

Sparks flew at a meeting between the Westchester County Board of Legislators and the Department of Social Services following last week's decision to shut down a county homeless shelter.



The Department of Social Services made the decision to close the Valhalla Residence Shelter, a place where 18 people are currently residing.



County legislators say they want to know why DSS didn't make them aware of the closure during recent budget meetings.



DSS said budget meetings are for discussing expenses and that the closure will save the county $500,000. Officials say they have a 20 percent vacancy rate at homeless shelters in Westchester County, and that's one reason they are closing the shelter down. DSS officials say they have already arranged to find new homes for all 18 residents, some of them going to a shelter a quarter-mile away.



County board members have asked for detailed reports on all seven county shelters to make sure the county is saving money without risking lives.



The shelter began as a place for those suffering from physical and mental disabilities.


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