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FYI: The three-person panel appointed by the court to oversee the city’s settlement of a long-standing legal battle over services provided to homeless families published its first report today, calling for more investment in prevention. In January, the Department of Homeless Services and Legal Aid Society agreed to establish the “Special Masters Panel” to evaluate DHS’ work and mediate disputes with advocates, thereby avoiding further litigation. This first report says the only way to reduce the 8,200 homeless families currently in city shelters is to beef up preventive measures. Among other suggestions, the panel is calling for the establishment of a homelessness prevention liaison at DHS, boosting rent subsidies to women on public assistance, and focusing prevention efforts on the 12 neighborhoods where most homeless families come from: Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Morrisania, Highbridge, University Heights, East Tremont, Fordham and Soundview in the Bronx; Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, East New York, Crown Heights North and Brownsville in Brooklyn.[11/12/03]

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