Midsize Projects Should House Homeless: Activists

The pews at the Church of the Village were filled last Thursday with advocates calling for more homeless housing in the city. Many of them were themselves homeless.

The occasion was a town hall organized by House Our Future NY, an advocacy campaign formed by the Coalition for the Homeless and 63 other organizations. Attendees called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase the number of units for homeless New Yorkers in his Housing New York 2.0 plan from 15,000 to 30,000, with 24,000 of those apartments to come from new construction.

In the view of the activists, although the city has made progress in terms of homeless services, de Blasio has repeatedly neglected the city’s neediest.

“We want it mandated: We want it to say, ‘homeless people coming from shelters,’” said Nathylin Flowers Adesegun.

Adesegun, 73, is an activist with VOCAL-NY who became homeless three years ago after being evicted from her rent-controlled Flatbush apartment. She made headlines last year when she confronted the mayor about his affordable housing plan during his daily workout at the Prospect Park YMCA.

California has the most homeless people of any state, with 30 percent of the U.S. homeless population. But New York City has the most homeless people — 78,767 — of any U.S. city, according to a 2018 study from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The study found that the number of the homeless in the city increased by 2,394 people last year. The city also experienced the largest overall increase in homelessness between 2007 and 2018, 46 percent, in the country, the study found.

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