In Current Plan, Just 5% of Housing Units Targeted to Homeless, as Shelter Population Remains Near Record Highs
NEW YORK – A broad coalition of housing advocates, faith leaders, experts, and service providers sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio calling for his Housing New York plan to include 30,000 units (or 10% of the total) to be set aside for homeless New Yorkers. Currently, the plan calls for just half that number, at a time of near record homelessness – including nearly 24,000 children sleeping in shelters each night. New York City’s own Housing Preservation and Development projects that only a few hundred units will be available for homeless families each year through the life of the Mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan.
“This coalition has come together to state the obvious: At a time of record homelessness, the Mayor’s housing plan simply fails to direct help where it is needed most. If New York City builds and preserves a record 300,000 units of housing without meaningfully reducing homelessness, we will have missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity — and thousands of children and families will suffer because of it,” said Giselle Routhier of the Coalition for the Homeless, which is leading the coalition.
The groups call on the City to build roughly 2,000 new units of homeless housing each year between now and 2026, when Housing New York is set to end. That rate of building, combined with the City’s supportive housing commitments and efforts to prevent homelessness and eviction, would help lower the City’s homeless rate substantially over the next eight years.
The groups signing today’s letter, listed below, vowed to work together to bring pressure on City Hall and educate the public on the need for more housing targeted to homeless New Yorkers.
The full letter and list of groups signing on is as follows:
April 23, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
As organizations on the frontlines of New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis, we urge you to use every available tool to help the record 63,000 people – including nearly 24,000 children – sleeping in shelters each night. In order to substantially reduce homelessness in New York, the City must fund a greater number of deeply subsidized affordable housing units targeted specifically to families and individuals in shelters.
Your Housing New York 2.0 plan commits to creating or preserving an ambitious 300,000 units of affordable housing. Unfortunately, just 15,000 of those units will be made available for homeless households – a paltry 5 percent. Furthermore, most of the 15,000 set-aside units will be preservation of existing occupied units and thus not available for move-in by homeless families currently languishing in shelters. HPD predicts no more than a few hundred units will be available for occupancy by homeless families each year through the life of the Housing New York 2.0 plan. With well over 15,000 families and more than 16,000 single adults sleeping in shelters each night, this is nowhere near the level of production necessary to meaningfully reduce record homelessness in New York City.
In contrast, at a time when the shelter census was only a fraction of what it is today, Mayor Ed Koch created nearly 15,700 units of homeless housing – constituting more than 10 percent of the units in his 10-year plan. Nearly all of these units were immediately available for occupancy by homeless families in shelters, contributing to the significant decreases in homelessness during this time period.
In order for you to align your housing plan with the reality of record homelessness and your own admirable progressive values, we implore you to immediately direct your housing development agencies to increase the total number of housing units for homeless households to 30,000, with 24,000 of these units financed and created as new construction. These goals are imperative if we are to meet the unprecedented need for permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers.
This plan will require the City to build roughly 2,000 new units of homeless housing each year between now and 2026. This level of production is ambitious but feasible given the progress that has been made so far: New construction is already ahead of pace, City investment has increased to $1.3 billion per year to meet the revised goals, and term sheets specifying requirements for capital subsidies have been revised to increase incentives for units serving homeless people. Given these building blocks, homeless housing production on the scale we recommend is not only financially achievable, but morally imperative. As the Mayor of our great city, you must take the lead in providing relief to the thousands of men, women, and children who are living the trauma of homelessness every day. By following our recommendations, you can cement your legacy as a leader in progressive values and evidence-based responses to challenging social problems.
The Ali Forney Center
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.
Barrier Free Living
Broadway Housing Communities
Bronx Health & Housing Consortium
Care for the Homeless
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless
The Collegiate Churches of New York
Community Service Society
Covenant House New York
Emergency Shelter Network
Henry Street Settlement
Homeless Services United
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Hunger Action Network of NYS
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
The Legal Aid Society
Midtown South Community Council
Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY)
National Working Positive Coalition
New Destiny Housing
New York Communities for Change
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Council of Churches
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Sisters of Charity of New York
Society for the Advancement of Judaism
St Ann’s Church of Morrisania
Strong Families Deliverance Ministries Inc.
Tenants Political Action Committee
University Settlement and The Door
View the Full Letter