Hundreds March on Gracie Mansion to Demand Mayor de Blasio Build More Permanent Housing for Homeless New Yorkers
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
Homelessness Crisis Still at Record Levels, with Nearly 23,000 Children and All-Time Record 17,000 Single Adults Sleeping in Shelters Each Night
NEW YORK, NY – Hundreds of homeless New Yorkers, housing advocates and supporters joined the Coalition for the Homeless, VOCAL-NY, Housing Works and dozens of other groups today as they marched on Gracie Mansion to demand Mayor de Blasio dedicate 30,000 units of his affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, including 24,000 units to be created through new construction.
The House Our Future NY Campaign, endorsed by 59 organizations, argues the Mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan is inadequate to address the city’s current record-breaking homelessness crisis. On any given night, nearly 63,000 men, women and children are sleeping in city shelters – including a record 17,000 single adults – while thousands more bed down on the streets.
“Mayor de Blasio’s current affordable housing plan is wholly inadequate and fails to meet the scale of the crisis. Of the 300,000 units of housing to be created or preserved by the plan, a mere 5 percent will be set aside for homeless households at a time when we are hitting new records almost nightly for the number of homeless single adults, while homelessness among families and children remains persistently and unacceptably high,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition of the Homeless. “The depth of this crisis requires that the Mayor use all the tools he has available – including his affordable housing plan – to finally start reducing the number of our neighbors forced to turn to shelters or the streets.”
“No one should need to use a subway platform bench as a bed or a storefront doorway as a shelter,” said Andrew Coamey, Housing Works SVP for Housing/Capital Development, Facilities and Construction Management. “Yet each day, we see more fellow New Yorkers doing just that – because despite its wealth, our city doesn’t provide enough affordable housing for them to have homes of their own. Mayor de Blasio vowed to end what he called this ‘tale of two cities.’ So far, he hasn’t made good on that promise. Nearly 62,000 people sleep in shelters every night. The Mayor’s only plan seems to be to add more shelters. That’s a last resort, not a solution. At Housing Works, we’ve seen for decades that stable housing is more than a roof over one’s head. It’s the key homeless New Yorkers need to reclaim their lives. We see that in our clients, who, once housed, become more fully engaged in all aspects of their own care – healthcare, mental health and substance use services, and education and vocational training programs. Once no longer reduced to daily surviving, people can get back to focusing on living.”
“Almost three weeks ago, I confronted Mayor de Blasio at the Park Slope YMCA to demand housing for homeless New Yorkers. He dismissed me that day, his office didn’t give us an answer when we met with them, so today I marched to Gracie Mansion because we will not stop fighting until we have homes,” said Nathylin Flowers Adesegun, Community Leader at VOCAL-NY. “Mayor de Blasio’s plan for homeless people is clear: stay homeless for the rest of his term and let the next administration deal with the crisis. If he really wanted to show that he cares about homeless New Yorkers, expanding the set-aside from 15,000 to 30,000 units is the very least he could do.”
“Our current crisis in affordable housing requires bold and innovative solutions to ensure that all New Yorkers have a place to sleep at night, especially our most vulnerable,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “While the current plan to create more housing is a step in the right direction, we cannot move forward until those in the lowest income brackets are equally supported and included too. Access to housing is a basic right for all New Yorkers, and we must ensure that is reflected in our actions.”
“There is no solution to homelessness without dedicated, permanent housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Stronger outreach to help homeless individuals and families access shelter and services, better mental health support, eviction prevention, and stronger rent laws are all essential as well, but we cannot truly address homelessness unless we commit to build more permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers.”
“Housing is a human right and that means providing all of our borough’s residents with adequate shelter regardless of their circumstances,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I applaud all of the advocates who will be speaking out for the need to expand our supply of affordable and permanent housing for homeless Brooklynites. I am proud to have expanded the provision of affordable housing for the homeless through the ULURP process as well as through my Faith-Based Development Initiative, and look forward to continuing to ensure everyone has a roof over their head in the County of Kings.”
“For the past four years, the number of homeless people sleeping in NYC shelters each night has stagnated around 60,000+, making it clear that we need bold policy strokes to effectively help the homeless,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “The House Our Future New York campaign does just this. I stand with them as they call on the Mayor to commit to 30,000 units for the homeless, 80% of which should be newly built apartments.”
“With a record 63,000 people – including nearly 24,000 children – sleeping in shelters each night, we have to take groundbreaking steps to address this humanitarian crisis and build 30,000 housing units for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. Getting New Yorkers off the streets is not only the morally right thing to do – it will lead to more effective treatment and job training for our city’s most vulnerable,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
“In the fight to create a more affordable city, we must ensure that homeless families remain a priority in the creation and preservation of badly needed units of affordable housing,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “I stand in solidarity with Coalition for the Homeless and the members of the House our Future New York campaign in calling for the city to deepen its commitment even further in expanding access to housing for all.”
“New York City’s homeless rate is growing and we must reduce it through comprehensive housing policy solutions, “said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “To truly mitigate inequality and address the high cost of living as a city we must increase housing commitments for the city’s homeless. We must tackle the challenge of homelessness head on.”
“While I commend the de Blasio administration’s efforts to address New York City’s housing crisis, our homelessness crisis must be met with greater urgency and targeted resources,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The de Blasio administration’s Housing 2.0 plan aims to create and preserve 300,000 affordable units. However, currently only 15,000 of these units will be set aside for the homeless. I urge the de Blasio administration to increase this number to 30,000 units, helping to reduce our homeless population and reinforce our City’s commitment to providing decent, safe, and affordable housing for all. At a time when we have 60,000 people sleeping in our shelter system on any given night, we must do more to house those who most need it.”
“While addressing homelessness has been at the forefront of our city’s agenda, affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers must continue to be a major component of the city’s plans,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik. “The current system too often seems like a band-aid on a critical wound, so I stand with the coalition to say that at this time of crisis, building significantly more housing for homeless families is absolutely critical.”
“Solving our homeless and affordable housing crisis is the most important issue we face today in New York City,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “While I understand how difficult this challenge is, we must pull together to do the right thing for all New Yorkers struggling to find affordable, permanent housing. It’s going to take an extreme effort to find a home for every homeless New Yorker, but with Public Advocate James, Comptroller Stringer, our Borough Presidents and the majority of the City Council aligned on this goal, we have the dedication and the will to get this done for people with the greatest need for housing. We just need the Mayor to get on board and commit to 30,000 units dedicated to homeless New Yorkers.”
“We know the scale of New York City’s current homelessness crisis; what we need are solutions of equal measure,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “The House Our Future NY Campaign provides a critical roadmap for addressing this crisis, coming from those individuals and organizations who understand this issue best. The Mayor must work with advocates to strengthen his affordable housing plan now, and ensure that New York City is not only a city for the wealthy, but for all New Yorkers.”
“62,000 New Yorkers are currently homeless. One in ten public school students lived in temporary housing in the last school-year, the highest number of homeless students in our city’s history. This is a crisis that shows no signs of abating. We cannot afford to take a wait-and-see approach while thousands of families are suffering and communities are torn apart. That’s why I am proud to join the Coalition for the Homeless in calling on Mayor de Blasio and his administration to commit to setting aside 30,000 units of affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers. This policy will ensure we are reserving enough housing for the New Yorkers that need it most,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.
“I appreciate the administration’s clear commitment to tackling the city’s ongoing homelessness crisis, but I do not believe their current plan goes far enough. With only 5 percent of these 300,000 units being allotted for homeless families- this proposal is lacking opportunity and equality! I urge this administration to drastically increase the amount of housing units for homeless households from what they have outlined in their most recent housing plan. Thank you to HPD, Chair Levin and Speaker Johnson for their work to create a more just New York for ALL,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“I commend the Mayor’s plan to preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing through his Housing 2.0 Initiative and I am proud that the Jerome Neighborhood Plan is a part of this success. Through increasing the units for homeless households from 15,000 to 30,000, the City will truly reduce the unprecedented numbers of our shelter population and additionally, by ensuring that 24,000 of these units be financed as new construction, we will ensure that these families have access to affordable units now, and not years later when units become vacant. I urge the Mayor and his Administration to consider this change to finally provide many of our homeless families with a permanent place to call home,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“As the homelessness crisis continues to get more severe by the day, with thousands of homeless children in our public-school system and thousands of families in shelters and struggling to find permanent housing, more units most be dedicated to homeless families. The housing plan must do more to concretely address the homelessness crisis,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“New York City is in the worst crisis of homelessness in its history. While the efforts of Housing New York 2.0 have had results, we need Mayor DeBlasio to dedicate 30,000 units in the plan to house homeless people. This is especially critical for the families with children. Last week the New York Times reported that one of every 10 New York City school students were homeless last year. New York City’s homeless school kids comprise 75% of the entire population of homeless kids in the state of New York. In my district, School District 10 almost 11,000 kids are homeless. This is a crisis and needs a crisis level response,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
“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.
“One in 10 city students last year were homeless. About one in three New Yorkers in city homeless shelters are children. These numbers are a tragedy and they detail nothing short of a crisis,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. “The most significant factor leading to homelessness in the city is a lack of affordable housing. As city officials, we all ought to address this housing emergency the urgency it demands.”
“On behalf of our homeless clients and those whose housing is becoming more precarious, Henry Street Settlement is proud to support House Our Future New York and its demand for 30,000 affordable homes for homeless New Yorkers. We call on the Mayor to align his Housing New York 2.0 plan with the reality of homelessness today and to dedicate 10 percent of planned new housing units for homeless households. All New Yorkers deserve to be housed safely and affordably, just as they did more than 100 years ago,” said David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement.
“Picture the Homeless finds it sad that Mayor de Blasio continues to ignore the 30,000 plus kids that spend their nights in a shelter as they watch building after building go up around them. We join with our comrades today to call on the Mayor to take the chance to bring joy to the future so they will instead see home when they see construction of new buildings,” said Mo George of Picture the Homeless.
“There is no one solution to homelessness in New York City, but we can’t get there without many more housing units for people experiencing homelessness,” said George Nashak, Executive Director of Care for the Homeless. “This modest House Our Future campaign proposal is a great step towards fighting and eventually ending our City’s homelessness crisis.”
“We know from our own observations, and research has confirmed, that affordable housing is the best solution for moving individuals and families off the streets, out of shelter, and giving them a stable framework for the future,” said Frederick Shack, CEO of Urban Pathways. “We are asking for a commitment from Mayor de Blasio to allocate additional affordable housing units to the homeless in order to alleviate the intertwined crises of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in our city. At least 30,000 units of affordable housing set aside for homeless individuals and families would be a major step in assisting the 62,000 men, women, and children sleeping in shelters, and thousands others sleeping on the street, every night.”
“New York City is facing an escalating homelessness crisis, with 62,000 homeless New Yorkers residing in the shelter system each night,” said Denny Marsh, Executive Director of Neighbors Together. “We know the real totals are even more stark as this figure does not account for all homeless youth, domestic violence shelters, three-quarter house tenants or street homeless individuals and families. Every day on the ground at Neighbors Together we hear from our members that the most pressing issue they face is a lack of truly affordable housing for low-income and working class New Yorkers. Now is the time for the Mayor to take decisive action and set aside 10% of his affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers who are worthy of a permanent, dignified place to call home.”
“New York City has relied on band-aid solutions to address its homelessness crisis for too long. No one should be forced to call a shelter home, but with the financialization and gentrification of the housing market, that is now the new normal for thousands of New Yorkers. In FY18, only 2% of homeless youth exiting the youth shelter system transitioned to their own apartments. That is completely unacceptable. The Coalition for Homeless Youth proudly supports the House Our Future Campaign. If Mayor de Blasio truly wants to make housing stability a reality he must dedicate 30,000 units of this affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, including homeless youth,” said Jamie Powlovich, Executive Director, Coalition for Homeless Youth.
“There are over 60,000 homeless individuals, 22,000 of whom are children in NYC shelters, not including the 4,000 on average who sleep on the streets,” said Lani Shepard, member of Neighbors Together. “The mayor’s affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers is insulting, and out of touch with reality. If he wants to end this crisis, he needs to treat it like a crisis and set aside 10% of the affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers.”
“Free the housing for those who are impacted in NYC. Stop the wheeling and dealing,” said Deborah Dickerson of Picture the Homeless.
Earlier this year, the Coalition for the Homeless released a white paper entitled “Moment of Truth: Bringing Production of Affordable Housing for Homeless Households in de Blasio’s Housing Plan to Scale.” The report illustrates how Mayor de Blasio’s current housing plan falls far short of meeting the scale of the city’s tragic homelessness crisis and highlights the steps the Mayor needs to take to make a meaningful and historic reduction in record homelessness.
House Our Future NY is an advocacy campaign formed by the Coalition for the Homeless and 58 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 32 Council Members, four Borough Presidents, the Public Advocate, 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
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
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
WE ACT For Environmental Justice