Last Tuesday, an important City Council bill reached the critical veto-proof milestone of 34 cosponsors. Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. initially sponsored Intro. 1211 just a few months ago: It would require developers who receive City financial assistance for housing preservation and new construction to set aside at least 15 percent of units in each project for homeless individuals and families.
The bill would establish a crucial mechanism needed to reach the House Our Future NY goal of securing 30,000 units of City-financed affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers, including 24,000 units to be created through new construction.
This House Our Future NY Campaign is endorsed by more than 60 organizations as well as the majority of City elected officials – including the Comptroller, four Borough Presidents, and the majority of Council Members, all of whom agree we need much more housing created specifically for homeless individuals and families. With 63,636 men, women, and children sleeping in shelters each night, it is time to enact the bold solutions required to deliver deeply subsidized affordable housing for those most in need.
A recent op-ed by outgoing Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen claims Mayor de Blasio’s current housing plan is working, but the numbers don’t lie: Fewer than 1,700 homeless households moved out of shelters into HPD set-aside units in the past four years and just 6 percent of all units financed since the start of the plan have been for homeless households, even as homelessness continues to reach new record highs. New Yorkers understand that homelessness will not decrease without a sufficient supply of housing affordable to homeless New Yorkers, the central objective of both House Our Future NY and Intro. 1211. Now we need Mayor de Blasio to join with the rest of our leaders, adjust his housing plan, and produce the homes so desperately needed by our homeless neighbors.
State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi is calling for the executive budget to include a critical program he claims will stop the growth of homelessness in its tracks in a recent letter Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Home Stability Support is not just aimed at saving individuals at risk of homelessness from eviction, but focuses on families who are falling on hard times and facing rising cost of living across the state. Hevesi hopes to see the plan fully funded from the governor’s office in the coming years.
“Homelessness in New York state, already at the worst levels since the Great Depression, continues to grow rapidly and the failure to address this crisis has severe human and financial consequences for the people of New York,” Hevesi said. “This program will immediately stop the growth of homelessness and provide an opportunity for some currently homeless families and individuals to be stably housed. Once we stop the growth of the crisis, we can engage in policy discussions about how to enable these New Yorkers to leave public assistance behind and escape poverty.”
According to a press release from Home Stability Support, there are more than 152,839 homeless children in the state with 62,333 children entering homelessness since 2011 alone. Hevesi claims that homelessness can create a cycle of mental illness that can affect their entire lives.
The city’s plan to convert nearly 500 “cluster site” homeless apartments into affordable housing hinges on acquiring 17 buildings controlled by the notorious Podolsky family, known for years as one of the city’s worst landlords, the Daily News has learned.
The deal — which Mayor de Blasio announced in December and abruptly placed on “pause” Friday — would involve the city financing the purchase of the properties at market-rate prices. That could cost the city anywhere between $40 million and $60 million or more, based on an analysis of available records.
The Podolskys — whose methods have included maintaining squalid buildings run with rats, raking in millions of dollars from the city to house the homeless, and allegedly forcing tenants from their apartments through intimidation — own dozens of properties throughout the city, including hotels in Midtown.