Tonight, 63,615 men, women, and children will sleep in New York City shelters, and thousands more will bed down on the streets. A new survey conducted by Win and HarrisX indicates that New Yorkers recognize the severity of this crisis and agree that we must do more to solve homelessness in New York City. A full 26 percent of respondents reported that they have personally experienced homelessness, and 18 percent know someone who has been homeless. One of the key findings is that most New Yorkers support shelters opening in their neighborhoods – suggesting that the vociferous protests against new shelters represent only a vocal minority of community members. The Coalition’s annual Compassionate Communities Award highlights neighbors who respond to shelters not with resistance but with generosity and kindness.
The poll also shows that a strong majority of New Yorkers understand the urgent need for more affordable housing to truly address homelessness: 79 percent support requiring new housing developments to set aside a certain number of apartments specifically for homeless families. The House Our Future NY Campaign, led by Coalition for the Homeless and 64 partner organizations, has been calling for this commonsense solution to homelessness for more than a year. Specifically, we are urging Mayor de Blasio to set aside 30,000 apartments, including 24,000 newly constructed apartments, for homeless New Yorkers out of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan.
Noah Goldberg wrote about the poll’s implications for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Sixty-two percent of the Brooklyn residents polled support the idea of a homeless shelter opening in their neighborhood. An even higher 92 percent believe that shelter should be provided to all New Yorkers who need it.
The numbers citywide were similar. Fifty-nine percent [of] New Yorkers said they support the idea of a homeless shelter opening in their neighborhood.
“It is heartening to hear that so many New Yorkers understand and support the need for more shelters for our homeless neighbors,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless.
But Routhier believes that shelter is only a temporary solution, and called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to build more permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers.
“The only real solution to record homelessness in New York City is more affordable housing,” Routhier said.
The Coalition for the Homeless has called on the mayor to build 24,000 new units of housing for homeless New Yorkers, Routhier said.