Today’s Read: Advocates Call for More Homeless Housing Units in de Blasio’s Housing Plan
On Monday, the Coalition for the Homeless and a group of 43 organizations sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio calling on him to dedicate 30,000 units of his Housing New York 2.0 plan to homeless New Yorkers, or 10 percent of the total 300,000-unit plan. Currently, only 5 percent of the affordable housing units in the Mayor’s plan are targeted to homeless households, despite the record number of men, women, and children sleeping in shelters each night. The organizations endorsing the campaign represent a broad range of housing advocates, faith leaders, experts, and service providers.
In a statement, Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier explained the urgent need for the campaign, called House Our Future NY: “This coalition has come together to state the obvious: At a time of record homelessness, the Mayor’s housing plan simply fails to direct help where it is needed most. If New York City builds and preserves a record 300,000 units of housing without meaningfully reducing homelessness, we will have missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity — and thousands of children and families will suffer because of it.”
Individuals can add their voices to the House Our Future NY campaign by signing our online petition. To learn more about the campaign and upcoming events, visit coalitionforthehomeless.org/houseourfuture.
Janaki Chadha wrote about the letter and campaign for Politico:
A group of organizations led by the Coalition for the Homeless submitted a letter to the mayor Monday calling for the city to double the 15,000 units currently allocated for homeless households within the city’s goal of creating or preserving 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026.
“We urge you to use every available tool to help the record 63,000 people — including nearly 24,000 children — sleeping in shelters each night,” the letter reads. “With well over 15,000 families and more than 16,000 single adults sleeping in shelters each night, this is nowhere near the level of production necessary to meaningfully reduce record homelessness in New York City.”
The coalition is calling on the mayor to up this number to a total of 30,000 units, with 24,000 of those created as new construction. The group argues the current 15,000-unit goal is heavy on preservation of existing occupied units and does not include enough new construction. Because of this, the coalition holds, it will not provide enough of a relief for families currently living in city shelters.
According to the group, the new goal would require the city to build around 2,000 new homeless housing units per year between now and 2026. The letter, signed by organizations including the Legal Aid Society and New York Communities for Change, states this increased production is feasible given the de Blasio administration’s expansion and acceleration of its housing plan. It also points to housing production under previous mayoral administrations.
“At a time when the shelter census was only a fraction of what it is today, Mayor Ed Koch created nearly 15,700 units of homeless housing — constituting more than 10 percent of the units in his 10-year plan,” the coalition writes.
The groups signing the House Our Future NY letter include: