It’s been nearly a year since she confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio about the homelessness crisis during his morning workout at the Park Slope YMCA.
“I’m in the middle of doing my workout. Sorry, you can’t do this now,” the mayor said to her.
The woman seen in the video is Nathylin Flowers, a 73-year-old housing activist who once worked on Wall Street and in the city’s theater scene. She’s been living in homeless shelters since 2015, after she was evicted from her home in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, where she lived for 35 years.
A coalition of advocates for the homeless gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to demand Mayor Bill de Blasio commit to building thousands of new apartments to combat homelessness.
Those in attendance held up signs comparing the populations of cities such as Bristol, Conn., (population: 60,568) to the 60,849 homeless people who were reported to be living in New York City shelters earlier this summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to address the homelessness crisis in his last mayoral campaign, but critics say his plans are falling short. Advocates want the city to build 24,000 new apartments specifically for homeless New Yorkers, and to preserve the affordability of at least 6,000 more already occupied apartments.
It’s been almost two years since the de Blasio administration launched Housing New York 2.0, a plan to combat the city’s affordable housing crisis by creating or preserving 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. Since 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, his administration has financed a total of 135,437 affordable homes.
But with the city in the grips of a deepening affordability and homelessness crisis, advocates are questioning the effectiveness of those efforts.
A new report by Coalition for the Homeless charges that instead of addressing those intertwined issues, the city’s housing plan in fact exacerbates the city’s divided housing market. In 2017, for instance, there were around 560,000 more households in need of low-rent apartments than there were affordable ones on the market. Between 1999 and 2017, the city lost more than one million apartments renting for less than $800/month. (The study does not specifically define what “affordable” means; researchers for the group used $800/month or less as a threshold because it’s the lowest figure recorded by the 2017 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey).