You must always follow the paper trail. In order to do so, you must have the paperwork.
I requested my file from both, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), via an attorney. It has taken an inordinate amount of time to receive both. I finally got my DHS file after waiting several weeks, and I am currently waiting to receive my HRA file after a wait of several weeks. I have been told that it is unusual for it to take this long to receive these files.
I wonder why it is taking so long for me to get my files. When I finally received my DHS file, it was expunged of almost all of the letters that I wrote DHS. (Yes, they received my letters. I mailed them in a manner that confirms receipt.) In addition to this, my DHS file was full of lies and fabrications. I’m patiently waiting to see what will be in my HRA file.
Be sure to request a copy of your files if you are engaged in any dealings with these agencies. No matter how long it takes for you to receive your paperwork, it is of the upmost importance that you have documentation of how these agencies document things.
-The Homeless New Yorker
ME: We need housing help.
PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CASE WORKER: You have to apply for the total package, including medical benefits, food benefits, and cash benefits.
ME: We are working people, and we don’t want to become dependent on the system. We don’t want or need medical benefits, food benefits, or cash assistance. We just need housing help.
PA CASE WORKER: You still have to apply for everything.
5 Minutes later when we question some of the protocols the public assistance case worker tells us about:
PA CASE WORKER: The system is set up that way because so many people scam the system.
ME: But we’re telling you we don’t need or want the benefits that you’re forcing us to apply for; that we just need housing help. How can the system complain about scammers and at the same time force people to apply for benefits they tell you they don’t need.
PA CASE WORKER: *Blank Stare* (Cannot answer the question).
This aforementioned scenario played out three times with three different public assistance case workers. My family was forced to go through the public assistance application process three different times in four months due to the failure of various entities/agencies involved in the application process to properly process/file the correct forms, among other improprieties.