Councilmembers Grill de Blasio Administration at Friday Hearing for Lack of Progress Addressing Homeless Crisis
Advocates Demand Mayor’s “Housing New York 2.0” Plan Include 30,000 Units for Homeless Households, with 24,000 to be Created Through New Construction
NEW YORK, NY – Councilmembers and advocates for homeless New Yorkers held a press conference today, ahead of Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee hearing, to call on Mayor de Blasio to create more housing for the homeless in his signature affordable housing plan.
Councilmembers joined advocates from the House Our Future NY Campaign in blasting the de Blasio administration for its lackluster response to the city’s record-breaking homelessness crisis.
“Mayor de Blasio’s callous disregard for the homeless is truly staggering. His Housing New York 2.0 housing plan fails the tens of thousands of New Yorkers without homes,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless. “There are a record 63,000 homeless people sleeping in New York City shelters every night, with thousands more living outside in brutal conditions. We are grateful to the Councilmembers who are responding to the needs of this vulnerable community and helping shed a light on the Mayor’s inaction on this crisis.”
Despite soaring homelessness in New York City, Mayor de Blasio plans to set aside only 5 percent of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan for homeless New Yorkers, with most of those created through preservation of already-occupied units (thus remaining unavailable for currently homeless New Yorkers for years). The Mayor’s current plan would create twice as many units for households that can afford rents above $2,500 than it does for homeless families and individuals – effectively perpetuating the crisis that continues to devastate the lives of tens of thousands of people in our city.
The campaign is calling for Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers in his Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan to 30,000 units, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction.
“Tonight, almost 64,000 men, women and children will sleep in homeless shelters across New York – a disgrace for what is considered to be one of the great cities of the world. Our ongoing affordable housing crisis makes solving homelessness impossible. And despite the current construction boom, there is no clear-end in sight. I stand with the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future Coalition in their call for more aggressive development of affordable housing – it is the only solution to this human crisis,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
“For years, New York City has remained in a consistent homelessness crisis. The approach has been to manage this crisis rather than coming up with concrete ways to reduce the homeless population. The Mayor’s Housing New York plan outlines building or preserving 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, but only 5%, or approximately 15,000 of these units will be for homeless households. It is also clear the while the city is surpassing their preservation targets, they are not meeting their targets for new construction, which places homeless families at a greater disadvantage in securing housing in the city. The Mayor must increase the number units for homeless families to at least 10% as well as increase the amount of units that result from new construction projects. Only through a true commitment to increasing these numbers will NYC begin to meet the needs of homeless families and reduce our homelessness crisis overall,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“63,000 people, of which 23,000 are children, woke up today in a New York City homeless shelter. These numbers are alarming and unacceptable,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “If Mayor de Blasio is serious about doing his part to address the issue of homelessness, the administration must immediately increase the homeless set aside and the number of new units for the formerly homeless under the Housing NY 2.0 plan. Until then, we will continue to see families languish in shelters.”
“New York City has the tremendous challenge and responsibility to take care of those in need. We have work to do to find housing for over 62,000 New Yorkers who are currently homeless. I am hopeful that Mayor de Blasio will allocate more units of affordable housing for these individuals, as part of a greater solution to our City’s current homelessness and housing crisis. It is something all districts should welcome,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“A housing plan for New York, is a plan for all New Yorkers. However, when a housing plan ignores that there are 63,000 people sleeping in shelters each night, then it is not a plan for all New Yorkers. The 5% of units dedicated to homeless families out of an anticipated 300,000 is not enough. Especially, when those units are generated through preservation of already-occupied units. Thousands of people will continue to spend their nights on City streets and the homeless crisis will persist. The City needs to create new units of affordable, permanent, supportive housing in order to really address this crisis,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel.
“64,000 New Yorkers, including 23,000 children, will sleep in homeless shelters tonight,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “To confront this reality, New York’s leaders will need to be aggressive and innovative. The comprehensive plan put forth by the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future coalition will construct the number of housing units that is necessary to meet the dire needs of New York’s homeless population.”
“Over 60,000 people are living in our city’s shelter system right now, said Council Member Ben Kallos. ”That means hundreds if not thousands of families surviving in a crowded shelter system. The Mayor’s signature plan, Housing 2.0, currently only sets aside 15,000 units for already homeless people. Of the 300,000 units of affordable housing, the Mayor plans to create or save, at least 10% should be set aside to get New Yorkers out of the shelter system. Thank you to House Our Future for making this specific point their focus and for being committed to helping New Yorkers.”
“I am tired of the fight we are having with Mayor de Blasio,” said Nathylin Flowers Adesegun, community leader at VOCAL-NY and homeless New Yorker. “Everyday you can pick up a newspaper and read another heartbreaking article about homelessness in our city. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our City is negotiating the dollars and cents that our agencies will use to build roads, fund programs, and ensure our New York functions like it should. None of our city resources should be spent to build luxury housing, while 63,000 people sleep in shelters. The Mayor must once and for all prioritize housing for homeless New Yorkers.”
“In order to truly address New York City’s record level of homelessness, the administration must address the lack of vacant affordable housing. House Our Future NY is asking the Mayor to align his affordable housing plan to meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members. To reduce the number of adults and children in shelter as quickly as possible, Urban Pathways stands with this ask to dedicate 10% to homeless households of the 300,000 affordable units the City has already committed to building. This includes 24,000 units through new construction,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways.
“The Mayor’s methods of addressing homelessness are band-aid approaches; they don’t address the underlying problem, which is a severe lack of affordable housing for low income New Yorkers. Until he addresses the crisis of homelessness with a commensurate solution, New York City will continue to have record high homelessness. It is time for the Mayor to stop digging in his heels and join the majority of the City Council, Borough Presidents, 63+ advocacy organizations and thousands of New Yorkers who support the House Our Future NY campaign,” said Denny Marsh, Executive Director, Neighbors Together.
House Our Future NY is an advocacy campaign formed by the Coalition for the Homeless and 63 partner organizations, as well as homeless men, women, and children and other caring New Yorkers. The campaign calls for 30,000 new units of affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers by 2026, with 24,000 of these units to be created through new construction. In addition to the organizations signed on to the campaign, House Our Future NY has support from 33 Council Members, four Borough Presidents, and the Comptroller. Visit www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/hofny for more information.
House Our Future NY Endorsing Organizations:
The Ali Forney Center
Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.
Barrier Free Living
Broadway Housing Communities
Bronx Health & Housing Consortium
Care for the Homeless*
The Church of the Village
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless*
College and Community Fellowship
The Collegiate Churches of New York
Community Service Society
Covenant House New York
Emergency Shelter Network
Encore Community Services
Harm Reduction Coalition
Henry Street Settlement
Homeless Services United
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Hunger Action Network of NYS
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing*
Kingdom Faith Developers
The Legal Aid Society
Midtown South Community Council
Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY)
My Dog is My Home
National Working Positive Coalition
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
New Destiny Housing
New York Communities for Change
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Council of Churches
Partnership for the Homeless
Pax Christi Metro New York
Picture the Homeless*
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Services for the UnderServed
Sisters of Charity of New York
Society for the Advancement of Judaism
St Ann’s Church of Morrisania
Strong Families Deliverance Ministries Inc.
Tenants & Neighbors
Tenants Political Action Committee
University Settlement and The Door
Urban Justice Center
WE ACT For Environmental Justice
*Lead organizing groups