Council Urges Agreement on 30,000 Supportive Homes

The City Council is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to provide supportive housing to New Yorkers dealing with disabilities and mental illnesses, and in turn tackle the problem of chronic homelessness in the city.

CFH Testifies on NYC Homelessness Crisis and Solutions

On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the Coalition’s Deputy Executive Director for Policy, Shelly Nortz, gave testimony to New York State’s Assembly Standing Committees on Social Services and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation on the current homelessness crisis in New York City. Ms. Nortz also presented the Coalition’s solutions to reduce the record number of homeless people sleeping each night in the shelter system.

More than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children sleep in the NYC municipal shelter system each year, and this constitutes more than 85 percent of the homeless population in all of New York State.

In 2012 I testified that we had reached a new record: There were over 41,000 homeless people staying each night in NYC homeless shelters, including 17,000 children. In January, the number exceeded 53,000 individuals and over 22,500 children. The most recent data show that there are now over 59,000 homeless people staying each night in the shelters including 25,150 children – 42 percent more homeless people staying in NYC shelters each night since 2012.

We know what works to solve homelessness – countless studies have proven the effectiveness and fiscal prudence of sensible solutions including eviction prevention, long-term rental assistance, permanent supportive housing, and maximizing the use of federal resources including public assistance, disability benefits, and public housing.

Ms. Nortz went on to specifically recommend that the City and State fund 30,000 more units of supportive housing over the next ten years through a fourth New York/New York agreement, while expanding existing homeless service and prevention programs:

We specifically seek an agreement that will:

  • Dedicate two-thirds of the units in the new agreement (20,000 units) to individuals and the remaining one-third to families (8,700 units) and youth (1,300 units); and
  • Fully fund capital expenditures and support services for new construction – as well as rental fees (adjusted to reflect future escalations) and support services to operate scattered-site units. (See http://www.nynycampaign.org/)

….

  • $2 million in additional funds to expand the STEHP program in support of eviction prevention activities in NYC. This will help address the growing demand for assistance to help families stave off eviction and avoid entering the shelter system;
  • $2.4 million in additional NYSSHP funds for supportive housing projects that have already opened as well as those that will be opening their doors this year. This will help get this program back on track;
  • $2 million in TANF funding for Emergency Homeless Needs (distributed by RFP for multiple New York City organizations);
  • $250,000 in non-TANF Emergency Homeless Needs for households that are not TANF-eligible;
  • $1 million for the Client Advocacy Program, through which chronically homeless disabled people are assisted in securing Federal SSI/SDI, veterans benefits and housing;
  • Raising the monthly amounts for the OCFS preventive, reunification and independent living rent subsidies to $600 per month;
  • Adding authorizations in § 409-a. of the Social Services Law to provide rental assistance for parents and children with disabilities, including young adults, when a child is either at risk of entering foster care due to disability, or where a parent’s or child’s disability is preventing a discharge from foster care;
  • Expanding emergency shelter, transportation and nutritional assistance for homeless people with AIDS/HIV to ensure that this benefit is provided statewide and eliminate perverse incentives that may cause people to become sicker before obtaining help;
  • Adding MRT housing funds to provide rental assistance in New York City to help homeless individuals being discharged from Nursing Homes and hospitals, or who need housing assistance in order to receive authorization to receive medically necessary surgery and post-surgery recovery supports in the community.
  • Making permanent the increase in the income caps for SCRIE and DRIE set to expire in 2016.

Ms. Nortz’ full testimony can be read here.

 

 

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