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New York City Council To Vote On Lawsuit Against Bloomberg Over Homeless Policy

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CHRISTINE QUINN
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New York City Council is expected to file a lawsuit against Mayor Bloomberg Tuesday, seeking to stop a new law that would require homeless adults to prove they have no other options before receiving shelter.

NBC New York first reported the new policy, which was set to go into effect November 14th.

After the story broke, however, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn publicly expressed anger at the administration, the policy was delayed until December.

Now Quinn has scheduled a hearing for this Tuesday, in which she and other councilmembers will likely vote yes on the lawsuit, which would charge that Bloomberg's administration did not follow procedure set forth in the City Charter for making a policy change.

"They are in these papers, which they gave us no notification of in the council's office or the speaker's office, challenging the legality of a law that the city has followed for 13 years," Quinn said in July of Bloomberg's new law.

Councilmembers and advocates contend the law will likely prevent many needy New Yorkers from getting shelter, especially going into the cold winter months.

"In the single adult system, you have a much higher rate of mental illness and other underlying issues," Mary Brosnahan, executive director of Coalition for the Homeless, told CBS News. "Many of these people have either come directly from the street or will be sent right back out to the street, so our big fear is that this could be a death sentence for many people."

Department of Homeless Services officials said previously that Bloomberg's plan would save the city $4 million a year, reserving the limited space in city shelters for people who actually need them.

"People who have another housing option are not homeless," Seth Diamond, DHS director, told NBC, noting that 60 percent of the people coming into the single-adult shelters have been living with someone else.

This will be the first time the Council has filed an independent lawsuit against the three-term mayor, and a rare moment in Quinn-Bloomberg relations.

Quinn is usually considered a staunch ally of Hizzoner and is rumored to be his favorite to succeed him in 2013. Quinn, however, is likely looking for a way to distance herself from perceptions that she's the "mayor's pet" as she begins her own campaign.