(COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS) Jacquelyn Simone, December 20, 2018
Across the United States, 552,830 people were homeless on a single night in 2018, showing the strong economy has not fully addressed the persistent lack of affordable housing. A striking 17 percent of those homeless Americans, or 91,897 people, were in New York State. What’s more, these heartbreaking figures from the newly released 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress are certainly an undercount: They derive from an annual point-in-time count that is known to miss many people sleeping on the streets.
The annual report underscores the urgent need for all levels of government to more fully commit to addressing homelessness by investing in more permanent affordable housing. After years of needless delays, the State must adopt Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support rent subsidy proposal, which would bridge the difference between the public assistance shelter allowance and actual rents for households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.
In order to actually decrease homelessness, the City must dedicate significantly more of its affordable housing resources to the record numbers of men, women, and children sleeping in shelters and on the streets. Mayor de Blasio has committed a mere 5 percent of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan to homeless New Yorkers despite repeated calls to do more. On Monday, Coalition for the Homeless joined faith leaders and other members of the House Our Future NY Campaign in a candlelight vigil to urge Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers to 10 percent of his Housing New York 2.0 plan – 30,000 units, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction.