The homeless in New York may be subject to "involuntary placement" as part of the state measure to deal with them during the cold season, Press TV reported.
Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the statewide executive order took effect on Tuesday.
Advertised as an effort to for enhanced outreach to the homeless, the order includes a provision that allows forcing those who resist into shelters despite their will.
"Our state, which has a beautiful tradition of social progress and community, should not leave anyone outside in freezing temperatures. That's called basic humanity," Cuomo said in an interview recently.
The homeless in New York view many of the shelters as filthy places replete with drugs and violence.
"I've been robbed, I've been assaulted, I've been name-called. I don't have any comfortability with the security or the staff there," The Guardian quoted a homeless New Yorker as saying.
With the temperatures falling below 32F, New York doubles the number of vans deployed for the homeless but the "involuntary placement" could endanger the situation for them especially those with mental disorders.
"The shelters are filthy. They steal from you. The food makes me sick," a homeless woman said. "We'd rather deal with the freezing cold than be in a situation like that."
"It's violating your rights. If you feel unsafe going into a shelter, then that should be your choice," said 34-old homeless man.