Housing Programs Announced

State and City Officials Announce Programs to Move Homeless Families from Shelters

The Cuomo and de Blasio administrations have announced the creation of two rent subsidy programs to stabilize homeless families in their own homes, as well as another one-year pilot program for domestic violence victims with children.

These housing-based initiatives will serve as an important first step in stemming the overwhelming tide of family homelessness that Mayor de Blasio inherited from the previous administration. With 13,000 families and more than 23,000 children sleeping in NYC homeless shelters each night, the rent subsidy programs will begin to address the urgent need to provide homeless families and children the stability and dignity of stable homes. Mireya Navarro reports for the New York Times:

In a deal that took several months to hash out after some sparring by the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations, the state and city agreed to pay $80 million over four years to provide rental assistance to homeless families in which at least one person holds a full-time job, city officials said. The second subsidy program, estimated to cost $59 million over four years, will focus on chronically homeless families who have been in and out of shelters for at least two years, the officials said.

In addition, the city is setting aside $9 million for a one-year pilot program that will subsidize the rent of domestic violence victims with children, who make up 28 percent of homeless families in city shelters.

If successful, the three programs, financed by a mixture of city, state and federal money as well some of the savings to be achieved by moving families out of shelters, are expected to help nearly 4,000 families, or about 13,600 people, move into their own homes in the first year.

Common sense solutions like these will begin to ameliorate the suffering of our homeless neighbors. Coalition for the Homeless President and CEO Mary Brosnahan praises the plan to move homeless families out of shelters and into stable housing:

Mayor de Blasio’s homeless housing plan is promising, because it is both comprehensive and nuanced.  The main emphasis is rightly placed on prevention to stem the tide of families pouring into emergency shelter by keeping them in their homes. Most importantly, it addresses the diverse needs of homeless families: most are homeless because they’ve been priced out of NYC’s runaway housing market; many are working full-time, but still can’t afford a place of their own; and a shocking number have fled domestic violence or have children with special needs.

This administration, its commissioners, and its agencies understand the causes and complexities of homelessness, and understand that the harsh, punitive policies of the past have failed.  They are working together to implement a well thought out plan that invests in the housing-based solutions we know can reduce New York’s unprecedented homeless crisis.


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