Following State of the Homeless 2019 Release, Advocates March to Urge Mayor de Blasio to Build 24,000 New Units of Affordable Housing
for Homeless New Yorkers
Homelessness in NYC Remains at Record Levels, With More Than 63,000 People – Including Over 15,000 Families, 23,000 Children, and 18,000 Single Adults –
Sleeping in Shelters Each Night
NEW YORK, NY – Homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers and other advocates from the House Our Future NY Campaign marched to City Hall today to call on Mayor de Blasio to finally take decisive action to end the homelessness crisis in New York City by increasing housing for homeless New Yorkers in his signature affordable housing plan. The march comes on the heels of the release of the State of the Homeless 2019, which showed the shelter census is on track to increase by 5,000 people by 2022.
The House Our Future NY Campaign members continued their call for Mayor de Blasio to build 24,000 new units of affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers by 2026, and set aside at least 30,000 apartments overall for homeless families and individuals. They marched from HPD’s offices to City Hall, ahead of the City Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee Executive Budget hearing.
“It is time for Mayor de Blasio to face the facts. By continuing to bury his head in the sand, he is only prolonging a needless delay in bringing the permanent housing solution to scale to address our homelessness crisis. The majority of City Council Members agree with the House Our Future NY Campaign that bold action must be taken. Mayor de Blasio really should ask himself why it is that he alone stands in opposition to the most important investment of all needed to combat inequality. This crisis will not improve until the Mayor recognizes that this is indeed a crisis and begins to use every tool at his disposal. That means devoting at least 30,000 apartments in his Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, with at least 24,000 of those apartments to be created through new construction,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless.
Despite soaring homelessness in New York City, Mayor de Blasio plans to set aside only 5 percent of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan for homeless New Yorkers, with most of those created through preservation of already-occupied units (thus remaining unavailable for currently homeless New Yorkers for years). The Mayor’s current plan would create twice as many units for households who can afford rents above $2,300 than it does for homeless families and individuals – effectively perpetuating the crisis that continues to devastate the lives of tens of thousands of people in our city.
“Last October I confronted the Mayor at the YMCA to demand more housing for homeless New Yorkers. I have been homeless for over three years,” said Nathylin Flowers Adesegun, Community Leader at VOCAL-NY. “Today we are marching to City Hall, because nothing has changed since last October. The Mayor has heard from homeless people, advocates, and legislators, and he still refuses to do the right thing. What kind of leader refuses to hear what his constituents and colleagues are calling for? The Mayor must come to his senses and do the right thing for New Yorkers who are in desperate need of the City’s support, once and for all.”
“Mayor de Blasio promised to end what he called ‘the tale of two cities.’ The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. So how come when we walk the streets and ride the subways we see more of our brothers and sisters calling them home? A bench on a subway platform or a piece of cardboard under a construction shed shouldn’t be the best the richest city in the nation can do for its citizens. The Mayor’s plan seems to be to add more shelters – well, we know that is not a plan or an answer,” said Andrew Coamey, SVP for Housing/Capital Development, Facilities and Construction Management at Housing Works.
“In order to adequately address its homelessness crisis, the City must also address its affordability crisis,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways. “More permanent, affordable housing is needed across the City to enable individuals and families to exit shelters, and to prevent them from returning. Committing to creating 300,000 units of affordable housing, but denying all but 5% to the lowest income New Yorkers will not adequately address the crisis. Doubling the number of units allocated to those in shelter to 10% (30,000 units, with 24,000 of new construction) is necessary to truly begin to lower the number of people in shelters.”
“With homelessness at the highest level in history, New York’s faith communities join with a majority of the City Council, 4 of the 5 Borough Presidents, 65 organizations, and many thousands of concerned New Yorkers in calling on New York City to match its policies to its professed values and augment the strong policies it has already put in place by committing itself to set aside a full 10% of the units in its 300,000-unit 10-year housing plan – including 24,000 of newly constructed units – for our homeless households,” said Marc Greenberg, Executive Director of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. “With one out of three adults in our shelters currently employed but unable to find affordable housing, now is the time to be a city of housing justice and rebuilding of lives. Anything less is unacceptable. ‘Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations, you will be called the repairer of the breach, restorer of streets to dwell in.’”
“It is outrageous that in one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, and what is supposed to be ‘the fairest big city in America,’ our mayor is steadfastly sticking to his tone deaf and factually incorrect stance that he is doing enough on homelessness,” said Amy Blumsack, Director of Organizing & Policy at Neighbors Together. “New York City hit record homelessness in 2019, yet the mayor still refuses to adjust his affordable housing plan to meet the need. The solution to homelessness is housing – we are calling on the mayor to set aside 10% of his affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, 24,000 units of which must be new construction. How many more men, women, and children have to be subjected to the trauma of homelessness before he is willing to act?”
“Everybody knows that New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, with levels not seen since the Great Depression,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “If Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan is going to increase affordable housing overall, then it needs to reflect this crisis and also include more permanent housing for the currently homeless.”
“With New York facing the worst homelessness crisis since the Great Depression, we need a robust program to provide truly affordable housing to this population,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “New York’s leaders will need to be as aggressive and innovative as the government officials who worked to help the most vulnerable during the Great Depression. The audacious plan put forth by the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future coalition will construct the number of housing units that is necessary to meet the dire needs of New York’s homeless population.”
“New York City is at crisis levels facing record homelessness,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “We have the opportunity to make real and transformative change in addressing our housing and homelessness crisis by helping get people off the street and into healthier, more prosperous and more fulfilling futures with additional funding. Thank you to the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future Coalition for your advocacy on behalf of our most vulnerable.”
“Over 63,000 people are living in our city’s shelter system on any given day,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Our Mayor needs to do everything he can to get as many families out of the crowded shelter system. That starts with Housing 2.0, the Mayor’s signature plan to increase affordable housing, which currently only sets aside 15,000 units for already homeless people. This is just not enough. Of the 300,000 units of affordable housing, the Mayor plans to create or save, at least 10% should be set aside to get New Yorkers out of the shelter system. Thank you to House Our Future for making this specific point their focus and for being committed to helping New Yorkers.”
“While addressing homelessness has been at the forefront of our city’s agenda, affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers must continue to be a major component of the city’s plans,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik. “The current system too often seems like a band-aid on a critical wound, so I stand with the coalition to say that at this time of crisis, building significantly more housing for homeless families is absolutely critical.”
“As the population of our municipal shelters balloon to ignominious records and countless more people sleep in trains, sidewalks and on subway grates every night, the homelessness crisis has emerged as the most glaring symptom of New York City’s housing emergency,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “The solution requires concerted efforts along several flanks, but one thing it most certainly does not include is allowing developers to put their own greed over the well-being of this city. It’s critical that we build more housing, including and especially affordable housing, and that the construction of these buildings creates good-paying jobs and a pathway to the middle class.”
“For years, New York City has remained in a consistent homelessness crisis. The approach has been to manage this crisis rather than coming up with concrete ways to reduce the homeless population. The Mayor’s Housing New York plan outlines building or preserving 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, but only 5%, or approximately 15,000 of these units will be for homeless households. The Mayor must increase the number units for homeless families to at least 10% as well as increase the amount of units that result from new construction projects. Only through a true commitment to increasing these numbers will NYC begin to meet the needs of homeless families and reduce our homelessness crisis overall,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“I want to commend the Coalition for Homeless on their efforts to bring increased attention to the homeless crisis in New York City. It is not right when thousands of hardworking New Yorkers and their families are forced to live in shelters because they cannot afford a place to live. In the great city of New York, we have the resources available to end this epidemic, but we must continue to work together to find an effective solution,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
House Our Future NY is an advocacy campaign formed by Coalition for the Homeless and 64 partner organizations, as well as homeless men, women, and children and other caring New Yorkers. The campaign calls for 30,000 new units of affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers by 2026, with 24,000 of these units to be created through new construction. In addition to the organizations signed on to the campaign, House Our Future NY has support from 32 Council Members, four Borough Presidents, the Comptroller, and the Public Advocate. Visit www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/hofny for more information.
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*
The Church of the Village
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless*
College and Community Fellowship
The Collegiate Churches of New York
Community Service Society
Covenant House New York
Emergency Shelter Network
Encore Community Services
Harm Reduction Coalition
Henry Street Settlement
Homeless Services United
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Hunger Action Network of NYS
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing*
Kingdom Faith Developers
The Legal Aid Society
Midtown South Community Council
Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY)
My Dog is My Home
National Working Positive Coalition
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
New Destiny Housing
New York Communities for Change
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Council of Churches
Partnership for the Homeless
Pax Christi Metro New York
Picture the Homeless*
Presbyterian Church (USA)
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
WE ACT For Environmental Justice
*Lead organizing groups