Nearly 32,000 households were denied access to permanent housing assistance between FY 2005 and FY 2014
Report Outlines Steps State, City Must Take Immediately to Match the Scale of Crisis
New York, NY – The Coalition for the Homeless released today a new policy brief on family homelessness, outlining how the City arrived at current levels of record family homelessness. The report finds that by the end of 2016, nearly 16,000 families consisting of more than 48,000 people were sleeping in homeless shelters each night. It also found that since January 2014, the number of adults and children in the family shelter system increased by 14 percent.
The report, which was released at a press conference with City and State officials, finds that the current crisis is fueled in no small part by a “Lost Decade” between FY 2005 and FY 2014, in which nearly 32,000 households were denied access to permanent housing assistance. The report also finds that while some of the City’s efforts to combat homelessness have shown signs of success, there are still several steps the City and State must take in order to coordinate efforts to end homelessness and invest in proven solutions.
“While the City and the Mayor have taken important steps to combat homelessness, bold action is still required to remedy this unprecedented crisis. Eviction, overcrowding, and domestic violence continue to drive the family homelessness crisis even as 8,500 more families have moved into stable housing placements under the de Blasio administration than in the final four years of the Bloomberg administration,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “We know the solutions that work and they must be brought to scale to meet the unprecedented need: The City must immediately increase the number of public housing placements for homeless families from 1,500 per year to 3,000 and implement a right to legal counsel in housing court for low-income tenants. Additionally, the State must step up and release nearly $2 billion for affordable and supportive housing as well as create and fund Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support proposal. ”
“Homelessness in New York has reached record levels, our shelters are overburdened, and more and more families are at risk of becoming homeless. In order to effectively combat homelessness we must address the root cause of this crisis, which is a serious shortage of affordable housing,” said NYS Assemblymember Hevesi. “The State must partner with the City and invest in long-term solutions to this terrible crisis, such as building the supportive housing promised a year ago, and creating a long-term rent subsidy program, like my proposed Home Stability Support program. Only then will we be able to get New York’s families off the street and into permanent homes.”
“The City has a legal obligation to shelter homeless families, but what homeless children need more than anything else is a home,” said Judith Goldiner, the Attorney in Charge of Civil Law Reform at The Legal Aid Society. “The State should fund the supportive housing it committed to and adopt Assemblymember Hevesi’s housing subsidy proposal. The City should make up the deficit of ten years of lost NYCHA placements for homeless families, and require developers receiving public subsidies to offer apartments to shelter residents. If the City and State do not take these steps, the shelter census will continue to grow.”
“Our current homelessness crisis is the most pressing issue of our time, so we need creative, financially-sensible solutions and that is exactly what the Right to Counsel and the Home Stability Support plan are,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. “These plans will help provide security and protection to struggling homeowners, as well as tapping into federal assistance programs that will help us save money while also saving homeowners and tenants in danger of evictions. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the City and State to support these common sense proposals that will help secure homes for tens of thousands of mothers, fathers and children throughout New York.”
“In a dynamic city such as ours, we all need to make a concerted effort to ensure that those of us most at risk to become homeless are provided the tools and opportunities to avoid such a fate,” said Councilmember Annabel Palma. “This is not a simple process, but through a myriad of initiatives, such as: providing counsel for evictions, increasing public housing units for homeless families, and investing in a Home Stability Support proposal, we can make an attempt to provide an adequate support system to contain – and eventually reduce – this epidemic. I support the Coalition for the Homeless and their valiant mission to do just that.”
“New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis that is severely impacting our most vulnerable residents, currently 23,365 children are living in our city’s shelter system,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos. “We should be doing everything we can to prevent more families from ending up in already crowded shelters. The Home Stability Support program will be a much-needed lifeline for families who are on the brink of losing their homes and ending up on the streets or in a shelter. New York State should adopt this proposal as a part of a serious plan to end this crisis in our state and city.”
“The housing affordability and homelessness crises in NYC continue to rip families apart and leave many on the streets. We need innovative solutions that will lead to stable homes – the Home Stability Program, right to counsel and investment in public housing, are several proposals that can help stem homelessness. The City and State should be partnering every day to come up with solutions. Our residents deserve nothing less,” said Councilmember Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.
The report also outlines key steps New York City and State can take immediately to reduce homelessness.
The City must:
The State must:
The full report is available at: https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/family-homelessness-in-nyc/