Statement on Mayor Adams’ Plan to Open More Safe Haven Shelters

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2022
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Coalition for the Homeless Statement on Mayor Adams’ Plan to Open More Safe Haven Shelters

The following statement can be attributed to Dave Giffen, Executive Director for the Coalition for the Homeless:

“While we applaud the Mayor for funding more low-barrier shelter beds – which are badly needed – this is only a small partial step in the right direction. In the absence of a comprehensive plan to create vastly more permanent affordable and supportive housing, one that respects the dignity of all New Yorkers without homes, these piecemeal efforts are destined to do nothing more than kick the can down the road.

More Safe Havens and stabilization beds are a good thing. But they will fill up fast, and in the absence of any real permanent housing options for their residents, they will stay filled, as more of our neighbors fall into homelessness and take their place on the streets. More than 9,000 unique individuals accepted referrals to shelters between May 2020 and the end of last year – and that was only at a handful of end-of-line subway stations. Homeless New Yorkers want and need shelters that offer the safety of private rooms, adequately trained staff, and a pathway to a real home. The number of private rooms, and the actual number of truly new beds in the plan is unclear, and should be published and tracked.

Furthermore, the Mayor must immediately stop his shameful and counterproductive tactic of deploying police officers and sanitation workers to sweep homeless encampments out of sight. Not only does this practice directly contradict CDC guidance aimed at protecting the health of our community, it also drives those who are most in need further into the margins of our city and makes it even more difficult for trained outreach teams to connect them with the low-barrier shelters, services, and permanent housing they want and need.

If the Mayor wants to get serious about ending homelessness, he will do what his predecessors failed to do: create a unified and comprehensive plan that meets the actual needs of New Yorkers without homes.”