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In March, Linda Gibbs, the city’s commissioner of Homeless Services, proclaimed her desire to shut down the city’s central intake center for homeless families, known as Emergency Assistance Unit. “No one coming through here could believe this works as it is now,” she told the New York Times. But a report released last week by Picture the Homeless, a local activist group, argues that the EAU can, and should, be fixed. The group surveyed 100 homeless families in the spring of 2002 and summer of 2003 and compiled both statistical and anecdotal results. The main problems, they found, are the center’s unwieldy eligibility and placement process; the lack of language and disability access; unsanitary conditions; and an insensitive staff. The group offered several recommendations, including the creation of EAUs in every borough and the inclusion of homeless families in decision-making. [05/10/04]

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