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Gotham Gazette

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Steve Banks

Steve Banks

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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