Today’s Video: State Hasn’t Made Good on Funds to Fight Homelessness in NYC

While thousands of our homeless neighbors struggle to survive on the frigid streets and languish in shelters, elected officials in Albany continue to delay the release of greatly needed funds for supportive housing.

Supportive housing is proven to break the cycle of chronic homelessness by pairing the stability of a permanent home with on-site services for people living with mental illness, substance abuse or other special needs – while simultaneously saving taxpayers an average of $10,100 per unit by decreasing the use of shelters, emergency medical services and other costly interventions. We know supportive housing works, but there is simply not enough to meet the current need.

Thanks to persistent advocacy by the Coalition for the Homeless and other members of the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, last January Gov. Cuomo announced that the State would fund 20,000 units of supportive housing over 15 years. The budget passed in April included funds for the first 6,000 units, but subjected those funds to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be negotiated by Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. As we approach the one-year anniversary of Gov. Cuomo’s bold promise, only $150 million of the $1.9 billion in the budget has been released, and the MOU is MIA.

Take action to help us reach our goal of sending 20,000 messages to Albany – one for every supportive housing unit promised – to urge the Governor and Legislature to fulfill the supportive housing commitment!

Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier spoke to CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez about the urgent need for State leaders to follow through on their promise and sign the MOU. Watch the segment here.

Severe to low temperatures and record high homeless are a dangerous combination on New York City’s streets.

In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a $20-billion plan to help solve the homeless crisis.

Advocates for the homeless say so far the state is falling short.

“Right now at the state, we’re really calling on them to make good on this promise, and release that money so that we have a solution in place that we know works,” Giselle Routhier, Coalition for the Homeless said.

Governor Cuomo vowed to create 20,000 supportive and affordable housing units across the state over the next 15 years.

The annual state budget included $1.9-billion to fund about 6,000 subsidized units, but so far only $150-million was released, the rest is stuck in legislative limbo, and the governor’s office said Cuomo’s calls for a special legislative session have been ignored.

“When someone moves into permanent supportive housing the ability of them to stay stably housed over the long-term is vastly increased,” Routhier added.

Advocates for the homeless have been trying to put pressure on Governor Cuomo’s office; starting petitions and rallying outside of his Manhattan office nearly every Wednesday for more than 20 weeks.

They said they’ll continue to hold the weekly rallies until the state finally releases more funding.