Fighting for Vital Services in This Year’s City Budget

Yesterday, Coalition for the Homeless joined Council Members, advocates, and service providers on the steps of City Hall to call for restoration of over $5 million in proposed budget cuts to services for formerly homeless individuals living with HIV and AIDS. This essential pot of money was left out of the Mayor’s preliminary budget proposal, but in the coming months, the Mayor’s office and the City Council will be negotiating a final City budget. In addition to these immediate funds, we called for humane, cost-effective solutions to the problem of record homelessness.

“Record numbers of homeless children and adults are crowding New York City’s shelter system, and Mayor Bloomberg’s budget plan and flawed policies will only make this terrible situation worse,” said Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director of Coalition for the Homeless. “The Mayor should sign on to the forward-thinking, fiscally-prudent plan advanced by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and General Welfare Committee Chair Annabel Palma. This plan would help thousands of homeless families move from shelters to permanent housing by targeting Federal housing resources, would reduce the homeless shelter population, and it would save New York taxpayers millions of dollars in shelter expenses. We hope Mayor Bloomberg will finally stop wasting taxpayer money on policies that have exacerbated the homelessness crisis and instead work with the City Council to include their smart, cost-effective plan in the FY 2013 budget.”

Following the press conference on the steps, the City Council held a hearing on the Department of Homeless Services’ proposed budget for next year. In his testimony, DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond admitted that the City had never bothered to estimate the cost to taxpayers of cutting off access to federally-financed housing programs like Section 8 vouchers and NYCHA vacancies – decisions that have directly contributed to record levels of homelessness.

We will continue to work with the City Council and pressure the Mayoral administration to enact these proven-effective policies.

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