The Partnership for the Homeless

De Blasio Administration Says It’s Ahead of Scheduling on Affordable Housing

A response from our CEO to the New York Times article, July 27, 2016

For many New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan seems to be in a different gear: reverse. They’re the more than 12,500 families who are homeless today trapped in city shelters, living in deplorable conditions with no way out. They’re also the families, often numbering well over 100, who every day knock on the shelter door, joining the thousands already there, because there’s no other place to go. And they’re the countless families teetering on the edge, about to fall over the precipice into homelessness, paying more than 50% of their income on rent. 

The preservation of affordable units in places such as Stuyvesant Town and the Riverton Houses is certainly an important initiative in an overall city-wide housing affordability plan. But it does nothing to increase the number of affordable units available to those at-risk of homelessness and thus stem the tide of poor families struggling desperately to stay out of shelter.
Sadly, the harsh reality today is that, given our city’s affordability crisis, decent housing is out of reach for too many. And, as a consequence, our shelter system, by default, has now unfortunately become our low-income housing strategy for poor New Yorkers. Surely a terrible way to spend over $1 billion every year.
Perhaps, as a start, the mayor, and his deputies, should create a mechanism to coordinate the work of the city’s various housing agencies so that neighborhood specific housing plans can be collaboratively created, especially targeting the state of disrepair of the aging housing stock in poor communities. It may just be a small, but important first step, in a larger housing preservation plan.
Arnold S. Cohen
President & CEO