On May 3, 2022, the Coalition for the Homeless submitted joint testimony with The Legal Aid Society to the New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare regarding unsheltered homelessness in New York City.
Over the past few months, Mayor Adams’ policy of aggressive sweeps has upended the lives of hundreds of homeless New Yorkers throughout the city, destroying their belongings, inflicting trauma, and disrupting their access to services – all while failing to help people move into permanent housing or shelter beds in private, single-occupancy rooms where they feel safe.
In February, we released a statement condemning Mayor Adams’ “Subway Safety Plan” and, in March, we released a statement denouncing his encampment-clearing plan, in which we reiterated that the City should focus on offering people a better option than the streets and subways rather than criminalizing homelessness. He did not listen. Then, in April, we released a joint statement with The Legal Aid Society urging Mayor Adams to stop the traumatic sweeps. This approach is counterproductive and makes it much more difficult to connect people with housing, shelters, and services. It is also in direct violation of CDC guidance.
The solution to homelessness is housing. In our testimony, we again called on the City to invest in affordable permanent housing where our homeless neighbors can reside in peace, away from the elements and other dangers on the street. We implored the City to immediately offer real permanent housing and safe, private shelter options in single rooms to unsheltered people, and to cease these cruel, pointless, and ineffective sweeps.
The testimony included several key recommendations:
Mayor Adams must:
Finally, we called on the City Council to pass the three pieces of legislation presented at the hearing – Intro. 211, Intro. 212, and the pre-considered legislation T2022-1077 – which would increase transparency and accountability in New York City’s homelessness and housing systems.
The full testimony can be read here.
For additional recommendations to the City and the State, see our State of the Homeless 2022 report.