So Letitia James makes some sense when she wants, BUT she still does not have the power to do anything about this whole homeless fiasco which has gotten worse with de Blasio. Also her calling the 62,000 people out of about a 9 million people in the city an epidemic is really reaching. That figure is less than 1% of the population, certainly not making it an “epidemic”, far from it. And again no one is breaking those number down, like how many are from out of state who decided to freeload on NYC or how many are mentally ill that should be hospitalized, etc. You just cannot believe the numbers where there is no breakdown of the back-up, they are just numbers that this administration is spouting out.
But if this bill passes, that means the big profit business of homeless warehousing could end and those higher up certainly don’t want to see this big ass cash cow end.
Face it, these clowns don’t have any kind of solution or plan, because if they did, they would not be dumping homeless into hotels (and do they really want it to end, when has a problem or a disease been fixed or cured, it just becomes BIG BUSINESS).
And we wonder why hotels have such a bed bug problem.
This is why I am fighting in support of the Home Stability Support plan that Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) has introduced. His plan will create a single, all-encompassing support program to assist those families and individuals in the most dire straits: those facing eviction, imminent homelessness or loss of housing because of domestic violence or hazardous conditions.
This assistance will ensure that families can afford to stay in their homes and are not forced to live on the streets or in shelters, which provide only temporary and often unsafe housing at exorbitant costs to taxpayers.
To grasp why the reform makes sense, first you need to understand how the status quo fails. It’s not that we spend too little; it’s that we address the problem incoherently.
Within New York City and state, families in need face a confusing hodgepodge of supplemental rental assistance programs, many of which are ineffective individually and all of which are clearly ineffective in the aggregate. While the intent of these programs is to help our most vulnerable populations, the reality is that too many conflicting programs waste taxpayer dollars and fail to stem the tide of homelessness.
Starting in 1975, the state began providing a shelter allowance based on one’s income, family size and geographic location to help individuals and families pay for housing costs. The shelter allowance is still in existence in New York, but the amounts given to families have not been adjusted since 1975 — rendering it grossly insufficient to help those families and individuals in greatest need. Rents have increased exponentially over the past four decades, far above even the natural rate of inflation, but the allowance to pay for these rents has remained stagnant.
The current shelter allowance for a family of three living in New York City maxes out at less than $450 a month, despite the fact that the average rental price for a two-bedroom apartment is more than $1,500 a month. For a family that lives paycheck to paycheck, this is clearly inadequate.
So New Yorkers then turn to the confusing mess of rent supplements — including Living in Communities, Family Eviction Prevention Supplement, Special Exit and Prevention Supplement and others — to help cover the remaining amounts or are forced out of their homes and onto the streets or into shelters.
Home Stability Support will cut through the red tape and target the heart of the problem. It will eliminate the overlapping patchwork of programs and provide a single, easy-to-access rental assistance program sufficient to keep families in their homes.
While the cost to implement this new subsidy might seem high — $450 million a year — it will ultimately save many more millions of taxpayer dollars. It will reduce our use of shelters; reduce many other costs associated with homelessness, such as soup kitchens, emergency room visits and Housing Court costs, and will prevent evictions, which cost New York City $250 million a year.
For a family of three living in the city, Home Stability Support will add up to $11,224 a year. Putting that same family in temporary housing or a shelter, on the other hand, would cost the city more than $38,000 a year.
The program will also be fully funded by federal and state dollars, which will help New York City cut down on the billions a year being spent on shelters, support services and rental assistance.
Under the new law, the city would also have the option to provide additional, targeted assistance for especially vulnerable populations or to contend with a volatile housing market. Just as importantly, Home Stability Support supplements will be tied to inflation, meaning that it will not become a political football once passed.
New Yorkers want to be compassionate, and they want to live in a city where homeless people aren’t stuffed into shelters, spilling out onto the streets. They also want a support system that works.
New York City is facing the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, and without significant action, this problem is only going to get worse. Home Stability Support is our best shot at creating an all-encompassing and effective system to ensure that our at-risk children and families can remain in the homes they deserve.
James is the city’s public advocate.