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Homelessness

Homelessness

  • Enhancing City Efforts to Move Individuals from Homelessness to Homes

    tenant apartment de Blasio affordable

    new tenants (photo via Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Amid this National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, as organizations across the country bring attention to the issues of hunger and homelessness, it’s important to also bring attention to and advocate for thoughtful policy solutions that address the gaps in our current efforts. On homelessness, it is essential that we provide landlords and formerly homeless tenants the support they need to both encourage

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  • City Increasingly Paying Back Rent to Keep Tenants from Homelessness

    de Blasio homelessness

    De Blasio discusses homelessness (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    In the effort to fight a steady, decades-long rise in homelessness, the de Blasio administration has significantly increased the city’s rental assistance programs over the past four years. A variety of programs including vouchers for those seeking to reenter stable housing from shelter, the effort also entails paying back rent for those at risk of losing their apartments.

    Known as “rent arrears” payments, the de Blasio administration has dedicated

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  • De Blasio's Record on Poverty and Inequality

    de Blasio equality shaking hands crowd

    Mayor de Blasio at an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    This article is part of a series on Mayor de Blasio's first term record as he seeks reelection this fall, in partnership with WNYC radio and City Limits. Find all pieces of the series here.

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  • ‘Fair Share’ Reform – An Essential Step to Solving the City’s Homelessness Crisis

    Carlina Rivera

    Carlina Rivera, the author (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    Repairing the subways, closing Rikers, rescuing failing schools – it can seem like New York’s most insurmountable crises are always being dealt with by cutting corners and taking the path of least resistance. This isn’t how it’s always been in our city. When the city passed the historic Fair Share Criteria in 1989, officials finally said enough to the inequitable distribution of city facilities and called for investment in a long-term plan for facility siting in the future.

    These rules were supposed to

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  • Did Street Homelessness in New York City Really Just Increase by Nearly 40%?

    de Blasio walking snow

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    Is the number of people homeless on New York City streets skyrocketing?

    There were 3,892 unsheltered homeless people on the streets or outside in public places on the cold night this past February when New York City conducted its annual street homelessness count, according to the City’s own statistics released this month. That’s a jolting 39-plus percent increase in one year over the 2016 street homelessness count of 2,794.

    The good news is that many advocates and academics don’t

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  • Mayor De Blasio Let Me Down

    De Blasio speaking podium uptown

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In 2013 I met then-Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio at a campaign event in midtown. I talked with him about my housing situation, that I had been laid off at work and the rent for my apartment had become too expensive. He said if he was elected, he would do what he could to help people like me. I voted for him.

    Soon after our conversation, I lost my apartment. Three years later, I am still homeless. The promises de Blasio made to me seem far away, and now, I’m not sure he is still

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  • De Blasio and Homelessness: A New Progressive Mayor Wrestles with an Old Social Problem

    de Blasio Banks homelessness

    Mayor de Blasio & Commissioner Banks (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This is part one of a three-part series.

    Part One: The Challenge of Homeless Policy
    During the course of his overwhelmingly successful campaign for mayor, Bill de Blasio made poverty and income inequality his main issues. As the liberal journalist and fervent de Blasio supporter Eric Alterman put the matter, “De Blasio made economic inequality the central issue in his campaign and attempted to tie nearly

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  • De Blasio Wrestles with Homelessness -- Part Two: Setbacks and Responses

    de Blasio Banks McCray homeless shelter

    Mayor de Blasio & aides visit a shelter (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This is part two of a three-part series, De Blasio and Homelessness: A New Progressive Mayor Wrestles with an Old Social Problem, by Peter Nasaw and Thomas J. Main. [Jump to Part One: The Challenge of Homeless Policy]

    Part Two: Setbacks and

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  • De Blasio Wrestles with Homelessness -- Part Three: Can de Blasio Turn the Tide?

    de Blasio new homelessness plan

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    This is part three of a three-part series: De Blasio and Homelessness: A New Progressive Mayor Wrestles with an Old Social Problem, by Peter Nasaw and Thomas J. Main. [Jump to Part One: The Challenge of Homeless Policy or

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  • A Smart Move for Homeless Families, Neighborhood Residents and City Taxpayers

    de blasio mccray banks shelter

    Mayor de Blasio visits Bellevue Men's Shelter (photo: Michael Appleton)


    Residents of Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood have been plagued in recent years by crimes attributed to clients of the 800 bed men’s shelter on East 30th Street and First Avenue.

    Shelter clients have reportedly defecated in front of buildings, publicly ...

  • 10 Key Data Points from Social Services Budget Hearing

    Corey Johnson hearing

    City Council Member Corey Johnson (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council General Welfare Committee conducted a budget hearing Monday to evaluate the programs, expenditures, and needs of the Human Resource Administration (HRA) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS). Steven Banks, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services (DSS), which oversees both HRA and DHS, provided testimony for the two agencies before taking questions from concerned Council members.

    Though HRA provides a wide variety of services -- including job training

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  • 95 Faith Leaders Join Push for Passage of State Rent Subsidy Proposal

    church prayer

    Prayer at Cavalry Baptist Church (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City battles a homelessness crisis, with 60,000 people in shelters, a statewide proposal to drastically reduce and prevent homelessness is gaining groundswell support. On Monday, dozens of faith leaders from across the state signed a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling his attention to that plan, the Home Stability Support program.

    The HSS proposal, sponsored by Democratic Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi of Queens, would

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  • Comptroller Criticizes Mayor for 'Out Of Control' Homelessness Spending, Limited Agency Savings

    stringer 2

    Comptroller Scott Stringer presents his budget analysis (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted aspects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018 on Wednesday, taking issue with the mayor’s homelessness strategy and what Stringer described as a dearth of savings for city agencies.

    Speaking to reporters at his offices on 1 Center Street, the comptroller said the city’s economy continues to be strong but warned of the challenges from an economic slowdown after years of sustained growth, the effects of which

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  • The Time Is Now to Increase City Human Services Contracts

    Urban Pathways rally outside city hall

    Urban Pathways members rally outside City Hall (photo via Urban Pathways)


    In May 2015, my fellow Urban Pathways Board Member Gary Belsky rightfully recognized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fiscal year 2016 budget investment in the human services nonprofit workforce. The investment -- a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment and an $11.50-per-hour wage floor, coupled with a subsequent City-funded

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  • The Fight Ahead for Our City’s Homeless Children

    kids circle doe

    (photo: @NYCschools)


    As families across the city gather in their homes to celebrate the holidays, a record number of children -- more than 23,000 -- are currently living in homeless shelters in New York City.

    Homelessness means much more than lacking a permanent place to lay your head every night, especially for children. The impacts of homelessness on young people are particularly devastating and go well beyond housing issues into health and education.

    Recent local media coverage has chronicled the record high numbers of homeless students in schools throughout

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  • Observing Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day & Committing To End It

    homeless persons memorial

    2015 Homeless Persons’ Memorial (photo: Care for the Homeless)


    Today, Wednesday December 21, advocacy and social justice organizations in cities across the country gather together to observe Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. This annual remembrance is held on winter solstice. It’s fitting this solemn occasion is scheduled for the longest, darkest night of the year, because each night without housing is long, dark and cold.

    In New York City, where the number of people experiencing homelessness is at its all-time high, there will be several observances. The NYC

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  • Opposing Shelters Won’t End the Housing Crisis

    Crowley Maspeth shelter

    Council Member Crowley opposes a shelter in Maspeth (photo via Twitter)


    On Wednesday night I attended my community board meeting on a proposed homeless shelter in Maspeth, Queens. The city Commissioner of Social Services, Steve Banks, was there, along with hundreds of residents who are against the shelter. I was one of just a handful of homeless and housing rights advocates in the audience.

    Though I was horrified by the residents who chose to

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  • Does the State have the Conviction and Commitment to End Homelessness?

    homelessness
    Affordable Housing in East Harlem (Sophie Hecht)


    The week of June 26, over 70 San Francisco media outlets came together to report on homelessness in the Bay Area. The collaboration, the San Francisco Homeless Project, produced over 300 local articles, videos, and radio and television segments, as well as similar collaborations in cities across the U.S. and internationally.

    Within this much deserved media coverage is the sentiment of a former San Francisco mayor, which may describe what ails our approach to the homelessness crisis here in New York State.

    The San Francisco

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  • Mixed Bag in Latest Government Efforts Fighting Homelessness, Providers Say

    coalition for the homeless protest


    On Thursday, June 23, the two leaders of Coalition for the Homeless, Mary Brosnahan and Shelly Nortz, talked with Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Jarrett Murphy of City Limits about where things stand in terms of city and state efforts to curb homelessness. The discussion centered around the recent end of legislative session in Albany and the fate of nearly $2 billion in state money dedicated, but not released, for homelessness prevention and affordable housing. City efforts to improve homelessness prevention, shelter conditions,

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  • For More Progress in Homeless Services, Continue to Consult the Experts

    de blasio homelessness applause bronx

    Homelessness policy announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On April 11, the de Blasio administration announced the results of its 90-day review of homeless services. The review’s inclusive and collaborative process is impressive. The city consulted numerous stakeholders, including two groups too often ignored: clients, specifically homeless individuals in shelters and on the streets;

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  • Push for a Better Mayor's Management Report Continues

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    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held an oversight hearing on Wednesday to evaluate the structure and content of two annual city reports that measure everything from the wait times on 311 calls and the conditions of city parks to the number of unsheltered homeless people and traffic crashes in the city each year. These key performance indicators help the City Council and the public keep city agencies and offices accountable. Those agencies, in turn, rely on these reports to improve their policies and functioning.

    The administration

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  • City Approach to Nonprofit Contracting Questioned

    council hearing rosenthal

    Council Member Rosenthal at a recent hearing (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Human services nonprofits serve the city’s most vulnerable populations, providing a range of critical programs like foster care, homelessness services, after-school programs, mental health care, food pantries, and more. But, many of these organizations are faltering due to problems with the ways in which government approaches contracting.

    On Monday, the New York City Council Committee on Contracts held an oversight hearing to examine serious

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

    east harlem mural

    Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)


    Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.

    “Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the

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  • Housing Groups Defend Homelessness Report After Pushback from Cuomo Administration

    vocal homelessness protest - matt curtis vocal ny

    A Vocal-NY protest (Matt Curtis/Vocal-NY)

     


     

    Housing groups are coming to the defense of a report issued this week that critiques Gov. Andrew Cuomo's homelessness policies and questions his attempts to place the blame for a rising homeless population on Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    Kristi Berner, spokesperson for the State's Office of Temporary and Disability insurance, slammed ...

  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 22-26

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 26, 2015.

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officials unveil CompStat 2.0, via Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office; Gov. Cuomo and his

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