residents to the Parkside Shelter. Rather, defendants indicated that they would transfer Hartford Street residents only to the P Street Shelter as space there became available. Defendants would close Hartford Street only when its residents had been moved to P Street, were relocated elsewhere, or otherwise became ineligible for further assistance under the shelter program. Defendants also presented two affidavits, one from Ms. Rowe and a second from Lt. William Price of the D.C. Fire Protection Division of the D.C. Fire Department. Lt. Price stated that the wooden bars across the windows at P Street were designed to be opened from the inside or outside and could easily be broken by fire fighters or other emergency personnel. He stated that the bars met the requirements of the D.C. Fire Code. Ms. Rowe stated that she had considered the condition of the P Street Shelter, and, on the basis of Lt. Price's July 22 inspection of the premises, had concluded that conditions at P Street did not pose an unacceptable risk to the lives of plaintiffs should they be transferred there.
In opposing their transfer from Hartford Street, plaintiffs raise claims under the Constitution, a federal statute, and D.C. statutes and regulations. In the succeeding sections, the Court will consider first plaintiffs' federal statutory claims; second, plaintiffs' claims under the Constitution; and third, the reasons why the Court will not exercise ancillary jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims arising under local law. Finally, the Court will address plaintiffs' motions to add parties and to amend their complaint.
Federal Statutory Claims:
Plaintiffs originally claimed that they are entitled to a hearing prior to transfer pursuant to Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 601 et seq. (1976), under which the federal government provides partial reimbursement to states for the costs of operating emergency family shelters such as the ones at issue here. In later pleadings, plaintiffs have also suggested that a right to a hearing may be guaranteed under the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq. (1976).
However, plaintiffs point to no specific provision of either statute that guarantees a right to a hearing before the general form of services may be altered, nor has the Court independently discovered such a provision. Neither is it possible to imply such a right from the general outlines of the statutes. See Thompson v. Washington, 162 U.S.App.D.C. 39, 497 F.2d 626 (1973). Thus, in Thompson and its companion cases, Marshall v. Lynn, 162 U.S.App.D.C. 56, 497 F.2d 643 (1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 970, 95 S. Ct. 235, 42 L. Ed. 2d 186 (1974); Tenants Council of Tiber Island-Carrollsburg Square v. Lynn, 162 U.S.App.D.C. 61, 497 F.2d 648 (1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 970, 95 S. Ct. 235, 42 L. Ed. 2d 186 (1974), the Court found an explicit statutory purpose to maintain rents at a low level from which it could infer a right to notice and comment before local housing authorities and HUD could approve rental increases in publicly financed housing. At most, one could infer from Title IV-A of the Social Security Act a Congressional purpose to provide relief of various kinds to needy families. But this goal is in no way implicated by a decision by the local authority, here the defendants, to choose to provide this service at one location rather than another. Moreover, in Thompson and its companions, HUD, a federal agency, retained direct responsibility for the approval of the action at issue. This ongoing federal involvement, which is absent in the instant case, is a strong indication of the purpose of Congress to provide a federal statutory right upon which the plaintiffs might base their claims.
In any event, even if a federal right were to exist, elementary principles of exhaustion require that plaintiffs seek recourse first from the federal agency responsible for administering the Emergency Assistance funds before seeking judicial relief. See McKart v. United States, 395 U.S. 185, 89 S. Ct. 1657, 23 L. Ed. 2d 194 (1969); Douglas v. Hampton, 168 U.S. App. D.C. 62, 512 F.2d 976, 988 (D.C. Cir. 1975).
Plaintiffs also claim the right to some form of hearing based on constitutional guarantees of due process. The Constitution nowhere provides any guarantees of safe or habitable housing. Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 75, 92 S. Ct. 862, 875, 31 L. Ed. 2d 36 (1972). For the protections of due process to apply, plaintiffs must identify some property interest arising from an independent source such as state law or policy. See Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 577, 92 S. Ct. 2701, 2709, 33 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1972); Perry v. Sindermann, 408 U.S. 593, 601, 92 S. Ct. 2694, 2699, 33 L. Ed. 2d 570 (1972).
Plaintiffs assert an entitlement to continued occupancy at Hartford Street arising out of (a) specific statutes and regulations authorizing the emergency assistance program; (b) common law and statutory rights of tenancy; and (c) statutes and regulations governing the procedure for terminating or altering the provision of welfare benefits.
For the reasons stated in the Court's Order of July 2, 1980, the Court has concluded that the residents of Hartford Street can assert no claim to an entitlement to remain there, rather than at some other shelter operated by the city under the same program. The Court has considered and rejected claims based on common law and statutory rights of tenancy. See Order of July 2, 1980. Even assuming that they apply, the procedural guarantees of the Social Security regulations, D.C. regulations and the DC-APA relied upon by plaintiffs merely prescribe the procedure that must attend the removal of a benefit, and have no relevance in determining whether a property right exists. See O'Bannon v. Town Court Nursing Center, 477 U. S. 773, 100 S. Ct. at 2478 n. 1 (Blackmun, J., concurring). Nor can plaintiffs identify a property interest arising out of any policy or mutually explicit understanding. See Perry v. Sindermann, 408 U.S. at 601, 92 S. Ct. at 2699. Indeed, prior to accepting benefits under the emergency assistance program, each potential resident (including each plaintiff herein) is required to sign a statement indicating his or her understanding that:
this shelter provided for my family and me is temporary. I agree to move immediately as soon as suitable housing or quarters are found.