Today’s Read: Solutions to Homelessness Within Reach

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Council member Annabel Palma, and our own Mary Brosnahan co-authored a letter to the editor in the NY Times today in response to an article on record homelessness. They are calling on the administration to enact the City Council’s plan allowing homeless families to access federal housing resources. In addition, the City Council plan also calls for the creation of a new rental subsidy. Currently, for the first time ever, there are no programs in place to help homeless families move from shelter to permanent housing. Read the letter to the editor below:

Homelessness Rises Sharply; City Acts Fast” (front page, Aug. 11) highlights how homelessness in New York City is at an all-time high for reasons beyond our government’s control, and because the city ended programs that help the homeless exit the shelter system. These programs must be revived for the good of homeless people and taxpayers.

It costs taxpayers $36,500 a year to shelter a homeless family, but the average cost of a housing voucher for the same family is $10,000.

In February, the City Council outlined a plan to use federal housing programs, like public housing, and a new rental assistance program to help homeless families leave the shelter system. The Council plan will reduce the number of homeless families and avoid the need to expand the costly shelter system.

It’s time for the city to carry out the Council’s plan to give hope to our city’s homeless and save taxpayers money.

New York, Aug. 13, 2012

The writers are, respectively, speaker of the New York City Council; chairwoman of the Council’s General Welfare Committee; and executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.

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