Faith Leaders and Housing Advocates Held Candlelight Vigil to Support Construction of More Housing for Homeless New Yorkers

Advocates Demand Mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 Plan Include 30,000 Units for Homeless Households, with 24,000 to be Created through New Construction

Homelessness Crisis Still at Record Levels, with More Than 23,000 Children and All-Time Record 17,000 Single Adults Sleeping in Shelters Each Night

NEW YORK, NY – Advocates with the House Our Future NY coalition and homeless New Yorkers joined faith leaders for a candlelight vigil outside of City Hall today to urge Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers in his Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan to 30,000 units, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction.

Despite soaring homelessness in New York City, Mayor de Blasio plans to set aside only 5 percent of his 300,000-unit affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, with most of those units created through preservation (thus remaining unavailable for years). His plan creates twice as many units for households who can afford rents above $2,500 than it does for homeless families and individuals. Tonight alone, nearly 64,000 men, women, and children will sleep in shelters – an all-time record.

House Our Future NY is an advocacy campaign formed by Coalition for the Homeless and 61 partner organizations, as well as homeless men, women, and children and other caring New Yorkers.

“The holidays give us some time to reflect and give back. It is not easy to see someone try to survive the winter on the streets of our city. We are currently at a record of nearly 64,000 homeless people in shelters every night, with thousands more braving the elements on the streets,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless. “We are proud to stand with faith leaders to demand that Mayor de Blasio act immediately, that he use all the tools he has available – including his affordable housing plan – to remedy this record-breaking crisis and give our homeless neighbors permanent homes of their own.”

“The present-day tragedy of homelessness in New York City, in the midst of the greatest wealth the world has ever seen, goes against the very core values of virtually each and every one of the great faith traditions. Members of New York’s numerous faith communities have for many decades dedicated their resources and labor and prayers to serve the most vulnerable of our human family and we have been encouraged by the recent efforts of our current elected representatives to bring new resources to bear,” said Marc Greenberg, Executive Director at Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness & Housing. “We, today, call on Mayor De Blasio and his administration, in partnership with the New York City Council to build on their good efforts and go further by taking the bold and visionary step of committing to include 30,000 units of housing, including 24,000 of new construction, in his historic 300,000 unit housing plan and truly TURN THE TIDE on the homeless crisis so that all New Yorkers can live in dignity and fully contribute to the life of our great city.” 

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House Our Future NY Endorsing Organizations:

The Ali Forney Center
Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.
Barrier Free Living
Broadway Housing Communities
Bronx Health & Housing Consortium
Care for the Homeless
CitiLeaf Housing
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless
College and Community Fellowship
The Collegiate Churches of New York
Community Access
Community Service Society
Comunilife
Covenant House New York
Emergency Shelter Network
Encore Community Services
Gateway Housing
GEMS
Harm Reduction Coalition
Henry Street Settlement
Homeless Services United
Hope’s Door
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Housing Works
Human.nyc
Hunger Action Network of NYS
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Kingdom Faith Developers
Lab/Shul
The Legal Aid Society
Mekong NYC
Midtown South Community Council
Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY)
My Dog is My Home
National Working Positive Coalition
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Neighbors Together
New Destiny Housing
New York Communities for Change
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Council of Churches
Partnership for the Homeless
Picture the Homeless
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Safe Horizon
Services for the UnderServed
Sisters of Charity of New York
Society for the Advancement of Judaism
St Ann’s Church of Morrisania
Strong Families Deliverance Ministries Inc.
Tenants & Neighbors
Tenants Political Action Committee
University Settlement and The Door
Urban Justice Center
Urban Pathways
VOCAL NY
WE ACT For Environmental Justice
Win

Today’s Read: Number of Homeless People in New York State Continues to Grow

Across the United States, 552,830 people were homeless on a single night in 2018, showing the strong economy has not fully addressed the persistent lack of affordable housing. A striking 17 percent of those homeless Americans, or 91,897 people, were in New York State. What’s more, these heartbreaking figures from the newly released 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress are certainly an undercount: They derive from an annual point-in-time count that is known to miss many people sleeping on the streets.

The annual report underscores the urgent need for all levels of government to more fully commit to addressing homelessness by investing in more permanent affordable housing. After years of needless delays, the State must adopt Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support rent subsidy proposal, which would bridge the difference between the public assistance shelter allowance and actual rents for households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.

In order to actually decrease homelessness, the City must dedicate significantly more of its affordable housing resources to the record numbers of men, women, and children sleeping in shelters and on the streets. Mayor de Blasio has committed a mere 5 percent of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan to homeless New Yorkers despite repeated calls to do more. On Monday, Coalition for the Homeless joined faith leaders and other members of the House Our Future NY Campaign in a candlelight vigil to urge Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers to 10 percent of his Housing New York 2.0 plan – 30,000 units, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction.

Brendan Cheney wrote about the new homelessness figures for Politico:

There were 91,897 homeless people on a single night in New York State in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report released Monday — a 2.7 percent increase from 2017.

The spike was mostly driven by a 2.8 percent increase in New York City as the number of city homeless people grew to 78,676. New York City’s homeless population represents 86 percent of the state’s total homeless population.

The number of homeless people in New York state has increased 40 percent from 2010, the year before Andrew Cuomo became governor. In 2011, Cuomo cut state funding for a city rental assistance program that housed formerly homeless people (called the Advantage program) after which then-mayor Michael Bloomberg ended the initiative. Homelessness in the city spiked in the following years.

Mayor Bill de Blasio created a new rental assistance program in November of 2014, which the state provides funding support for. Even so, the number of homeless people continued to increase in the city following the new program’s implementation and the mayor has faced sustained criticism for not allocating more units for the homeless in his housing plan.

“These numbers just show that we are in the midst of a sustained and growing homelessness crisis with no end in sight, and a growing economy will not solve this crisis on its own,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless. “Both the City and the State need to put full resources behind tackling this problem.”

Routhier recommended de Blasio increase the number of units for the homeless in his plan and [that Governor Cuomo] implement Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s rental assistance proposal.

Homelessness Rises Slightly Despite Strong Economy, Federal Report Finds

Despite the booming economy, homelessness in the United States rose slightly for the second year in a row, with spikes in high-rent cities like New York and Seattle, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Over all, the national rate of homelessness rose by a modest 0.3 percent to 552,830 people without stable living conditions, the report found. But that represented the second annual increase after seven straight years of declines — the result, in part, of rapidly increasing housing costs that have only recently shown signs of leveling off.

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