November 14, 2019

City’s new homeless outreach program will utilize 18,000 municipal employees

"Mass surveillance" or massive outreach effort? The verdict seems to still be out on Mayor de Blasio's new initiative to help solve the homelessness crisis in New York City. In a press release today announcing the new Outreach NYC program, the city says it will "mobilize thousands of frontline City Agency staff to request outreach assistance via 311 when they observe individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness" as a way to help them into shelters. To be exact, the total number of city employees who will receive this training is 18,000. But the Coalition for the Homeless feels that the plan merely implements "mass surveillance of homeless New Yorkers" without making investments in solutions.
October 3, 2019

NYPD will now monitor homeless New Yorkers 24/7 at some subway stations: report

The city's police department has launched a new surveillance system to keep an eye on homeless New Yorkers at more than 10 subway stations, THE CITY reported on Thursday. NYPD officers will watch feeds from more than 100 live cameras that show views from stations and platforms in order to respond to "quality-of-life and public safety concerns," the city announced in August. The monitoring program comes as part of a city and state effort to address homelessness in the subways.
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July 24, 2019

MTA moves to create homelessness task force as outreach efforts come under scrutiny

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will launch a task force focused on addressing the New York City subway system's rising homeless population, which has risen by 23 percent so far this year. The task force is expected to assemble soon and will have 30 days to design a plan that will “measurably reduce homelessness and panhandlers on the subway” by the end of the year. The announcement comes on the heels of a newly published audit by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli which found that a contractor hired by the MTA to handle homeless outreach was inflating its work and actually turning away the needy, as AM New York reported.
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May 23, 2019

As city spends $3.2B on homeless services, shelter population remains flat

The population of New Yorkers living in homeless shelters has remained flat for the first time in a decade, officials said on Wednesday. During a City Council budget hearing, Steven Banks, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said the city has finally "broken the trajectory" and started to reverse the trend of uninterrupted shelter growth. "We would have more than 70,000 people in shelter today if it wasn't for prevention and housing investments," Banks said, as reported by the New York Post. The number of New Yorkers living in shelters has hovered around 60,000 daily for the last two years.
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May 1, 2019

Report says city needs 24,000 subsidized apartments to address record homelessness numbers

According to a new report titled "State of the Homeless 2019" by the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of New Yorkers sleeping in shelters each night is large enough to count as the state's ninth-largest city: Close to 64,000 people took refuge in shelters each night according to the report–a record high figure that fell only slightly in February. The report takes both Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task on the issue, AM New York reports, and advises that the city build at least 24,000 subsidized affordable units and set aside 6,000 units for homeless households as quickly as possible to keep the numbers from growing.
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February 7, 2019

Newark mayor points to flaws in NYC program that pays homeless people to leave for cheaper cities

In a statement this week, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka asked that New York City’s Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) Program providing homeless shelter residents with free rent for a year if they are willing to leave NYC be re-evaluated due to "serious defects." A recent investigation by WNYC confirmed that some families ended up in "illegal and uninhabitable" apartments in Newark. As CBS New York reports, Baraka cited the fact that participants were coming to Newark under the program–which pays landlords a year's worth of rent upfront–and ending up in the aforementioned conditions, then being abandoned to become homeless again when the year was up.
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December 28, 2018

Plan for homeless men’s shelter on Billionaires’ Row temporarily stopped

The West 58th Street Coalition, a group of residents suing over the city’s controversial plan to open a homeless shelter on Manhattan’s Billionaires' Row, has won a temporary injunction to halt construction at the former Park Savoy Hotel, the New York Post reported Thursday. The residents sued the city in July, claiming the proposed shelter posed a significant fire hazard and also fearing their new neighbors would usher in increased crime and loitering in the area as well as “un-quantifiable economic harm to the value of their property,” as court papers stated.
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September 20, 2018

New report shows increased spending to house homeless New Yorkers in shelters

According to a new city management report, during the 2017 fiscal year, the city spent an average of $99 a day to house single adults in facilities in New York City; in fiscal year 2018, that number grew to $117 a day, the Wall Street Journal reports. The cost of housing homeless families in shelters rose in fiscal year 2018 as well, with over 22,340 children living in shelters–an average of $192 a day compared to $171 in fiscal year 2017. It cost $147 each day to house adult families in fiscal year 2018 compared with $138 a day a year prior. According to the city's Department of Homeless Services, the bigger numbers are the result of an increased investment in services, repairs and security at shelters.
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July 3, 2018

Billionaires’ Row coalition sues NYC to keep homeless men out of their neighborhood

Image © 6sqft A group of New Yorkers who live near Billionaires' Row, an area with some of the most expensive residences in the world, filed a lawsuit on Monday to block a homeless shelter from opening in the Midtown West neighborhood. The West 58th Street Coalition sued New York City to stop the conversion of the old Park Savoy Hotel at 158 West 58th Street into a homeless shelter for men, a plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February. The coalition claims the shelter, which would house 140 single men, would have "an enormous impact on our densely populated, narrow, high-pedestrian-traffic street." While describing themselves as a group of "compassionate New Yorkers," the petition says instead of the city paying $50,000 per person to stay at the Park Savoy, "a homeless man could have his own apartment, living in the neighborhood where he came from." The new shelter sits behind One57, a known for the city’s most expensive residential sale ever: a penthouse that sold for $100 million in 2015.
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March 28, 2018

Over the next three years, city will spend over $1B to house homeless New Yorkers in hotels

Officials on Tuesday said the city will spend $384 million annually over the next three years to house homeless New Yorkers in commercial hotels, despite promises to phase out the once emergency-only measure. The costs, which will total more than $1 billion, will also include creating supportive services for families, as well as amenities hotel rooms lack, like refrigerators and microwaves, according to the New York Post. Department of Homeless Services told City Council members at a hearing Tuesday that the three-year contract is temporary, but needed as the city continues to open new shelters that will eventually replace cluster sites and other underperforming shelters.
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March 14, 2018

NYC’s homeless shelter population would make it the 10th largest city in the state

Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio was criticized for failing to open 10 of the 20 homeless shelters his administration pledged for 2017, with "delays in the permit process, time-consuming negotiations with nonprofits that run the shelters, and backlash from the community and public officials" to blame. The push came from the fact that NYC has the largest homeless population in the U.S., climbing near 78,000. All of this coupled together, the situation is now looking even more dire, as the Coalition for the Homeless' annual State of the Homeless Report finds that a record high number of New Yorkers make up the city's nightly homeless shelter population. This number, 63,495 (which includes 23,600 children), would make that group the 10th largest city in the state, notes the Daily News.
January 23, 2018

De Blasio administration falls short of pledge to open 20 homeless shelters in 2017

In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration opened just 10 out of the 20 shelters planned for New York City under an initiative aimed at curbing the city's growing homelessness crisis. Last February, the city unveiled its "Turning the Tide on Homelessness" plan that included opening 90 shelters over five years, with about 20 shelters each in 2017 and 2018. But, according to the New York Times, the city fell short of its target last year, opening just half the number of shelters planned due to delays in the permit process, time-consuming negotiations with nonprofits that run the shelters and backlash from the community and public officials. Under de Blasio, the homeless population has grown. When the mayor took office in 2014, about 68,000 New Yorkers were without homes. Today, roughly 77,000 people are considered homeless in NYC, with 3,900 on the street, the largest homeless population in the U.S.
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January 18, 2018

City to open homeless shelter adjacent to One57 on Billionaires’ Row

Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to open a new homeless shelter for 150 single adult men on Manhattan's Billionaires' Row, part of the city's initiative to open 90 new shelters over the next five years. According to the New York Post, a former hotel at 158 West 58th Street, the Park Savoy, will be converted into the shelter and open in March. The Central Park South building sits behind One57, a supertall known for the city's most expensive residential sale ever: a penthouse that sold for $100 million in 2015.
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November 28, 2017

INTERVIEW: Why SpareRoom and Breaking Ground partnered to combat NYC’s homelessness crisis

Over the past few years, New York City's homeless crisis has gotten worse. A recent study reported a 39 percent increase in homelessness over 2016, making last year the highest homeless population since the survey began in 2005. While the city scrambles to address the rising population, a roommate company and nonprofit housing organization recently teamed up to help lessen the burden of New Yorkers who find themselves unable to afford housing. Despite operating on opposite ends of the housing market, roommate matching site SpareRoom partnered with Breaking Ground, the largest provider of supportive housing in NYC, this November. The partnership was suggested by the public after SpareRoom launched Live Rent Free, a contest where the company pays one roommate’s monthly rent and one person’s entire rent for a whole year. (It was inspired by founder Rupert Hunt's New York roommate search, in which he found two roomies to share his West Village loft for $1 a month.) The resulting partnership--which is running in tandem with the Live Rent Free contest--matches the monthly prize amount dollar-for-dollar with an in-kind donation to Breaking Ground to fund their Transitional Housing program. So far, SpareRoom has donated $3,314. With 6sqft, Matt Hutchinson, Director at SpareRoom, explained why the company felt motivated to address homelessness and its future plans to engage with Breaking Ground. Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground, also explains how the organization's Transition Housing program works, and why the homelessness crisis is something all New Yorkers--regardless of what they pay in rent--should be aware of.
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November 15, 2017

Bronx lottery opens at city’s first model that co-locates homeless shelter and affordable apartments

Applications are now being accepted for 24 new affordable rentals at 233 Landing Road in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. The newly-minted elevator building will offer residents a computer lab, a live-in super, bicycle storage, a community room and an on-site laundry room. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 50 and 60 percent of the area median income may apply for units ranging from a $714/month one-bedroom to a $1,058/month two-bedroom.
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September 29, 2017

City will pay 12 months of rent for homeless families if they move out of NYC

Over the past few years, homelessness in New York City has hit its highest levels since the Great Depression. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, over 60,500 homeless people slept in one of the city’s shelters in July. To reduce these numbers, Mayor de Blasio’s administration introduced a program this week that pays 12 months of rent upfront for homeless families who find an apartment outside of NYC, as WNYC reported.
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