New York City’s next mayor will inherit an historic homelessness crisis. The good news is that Bill de Blasio’s knowledge and experience, his campaign platform, and his vision for a less unequal city make him extraordinarily well-suited to stem the tide of rising homelessness.
Everyone at Coalition for the Homeless offers warm congratulations to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio for his resounding victory this week. And we look forward to working with him, his transition team, and his new administration in the coming months and years to address New York City’s historic homelessness crisis.
Throughout the mayoral campaign we have been heartened and encouraged by de Blasio’s focus on worsening inequality – and by New York voters’ overwhelming response to that message. Homelessness is clearly one of the major symptoms of NYC’s worsening inequality, in particular the widening gap between housing costs and the incomes of poor and low-income New Yorkers.
Indeed, there is no stronger evidence of de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” than the more than 52,000 homeless New Yorkers – among them 22,000 homeless children – who are sleeping each night in municipal shelters.
The good news is that, not only does de Blasio understand the scale of the problem, he has the knowledge and experience to tackle NYC’s homelessness crisis. As a former Federal housing official and chair of the City Council’s General Welfare Committee, he has firsthand and thorough knowledge of homeless services and affordable housing in New York.
Moreover, his campaign platform shows that de Blasio understands how the housing-based solutions to homelessness that worked under previous New York City mayors – but which were tragically abandoned by Mayor Bloomberg – must be embraced again to stem the tide of rising family homelessness.
Indeed, we are very encouraged to see that de Blasio’s campaign platform calls for resuming priority referrals of homeless families to Federal housing programs like public housing. It’s also good news to see that the platform calls for eliminating many of the bureaucratic barriers that have wrongfully denied shelter to many vulnerable children and families.
We welcome the chance to work with Mayor-elect de Blasio and his team to forge genuine, housing-based solutions to New York City’s worsening homelessness crisis.