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House Our Future NY Campaign Demands Construction of 24,000 New Apartments and Preservation of 6,000 More for Homeless New Yorkers

NEW YORK, NY – The Coalition for the Homeless released a new report today, while rallying at City Hall with homeless New Yorkers and members of the House Our Future NY campaign to demand bold action from the Mayor to curb the city’s homelessness crisis. The report, The Tale of Two Housing Markets, details how Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan is further bifurcating the city’s housing market and failing to address the homelessness crisis.

New York City is in the midst of a major homelessness crisis: The number of people in municipal shelters each night is higher than the total population of many cities around the country. Despite the Mayor’s campaign promises to end New York’s “Tale of Two Cities,” the divide has only deepened, due in no small part to the gross misalignment of the Mayor’s affordable housing plan.

Under Mayor de Blasio, homelessness in New York City has reached record levels not seen since the Great Depression, with more than 60,000 people sleeping in shelters each night. Instead of using his Housing New York 2.0 plan to build homes for homeless families and individuals, he has chosen to squander valuable City resources on the kind of high-rent apartments that the city is already awash in. This inexcusable disregard for realities of the city’s housing market leaves tens of thousands of the poorest New Yorkers with nowhere to go but shelters or the streets.

“Unless Mayor de Blasio wakes up and does the right thing by using the Housing New York 2.0 plan to finally reduce homelessness, this crisis – and the suffering of the people affected by it – will continue to define his mayoralty,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless. “The Mayor has failed to recognize this crisis for too long and the misguided direction of his housing plan is a missed opportunity of tragic proportions.  The solution to homelessness is simple, but we need bold action to match the current scale of this crisis. This is why we are calling on the Mayor to implement the House Our Future NY Campaign’s recommendation to build 24,000 new apartments – and preserve the affordability of at least 6,000 more – for homeless families and individuals. By refusing to make this critical investment, Mayor de Blasio is squandering resources, breaking his One City promise, and steering our city in the wrong direction.”

The newly released report shows that between 1999 and 2017, New York City lost over one million apartments renting for less than $800 a month. In 2017, there were approximately 560,000 more households in need of low-rent apartments than there were apartments affordable to them on the private market – evidence of the disparity between rising rents and stagnant wages.

There has been a steady decline of low-rent apartments and a surge in the availability of apartments with rents above $2,000 a month. New Yorkers are being pushed out of apartments they can afford, and housing vouchers do not help to expand the supply of affordable housing. There are now more homeless single adults living in shelters (17,887 people) than there are vacant apartments for rent at the CityFHEPS subsidy level for studios (16,480 apartments), signaling an extreme crisis for the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population.

On Mayor de Blasio’s watch, New York is on track to see homelessness rise by another 5,000 individuals in the next five years. The House Our Future NY Campaign is calling for the construction of 24,000 new apartments and the preservation of the affordability of at least 6,000 more for homeless New Yorkers under the Mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan. With this bold and sensible investment, thousands more families and individuals could leave shelters each year, move into permanent housing, and put the City on a trajectory to actually reduce homelessness for the first time in 15 years.

“Our city faces a deep affordability crisis, and our homeless population has risen to some of the highest levels we’ve ever seen. The only way we can solve this crisis is through bold action to preserve the affordable housing stock that we do still have and build significantly more housing, so that more in our community are protected from the negative effects of gentrification and displacement. Thank you to the Coalition for the Homeless for the work that they do to call attention to this critical issue,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Our affordability crisis is fueled by rents that go nowhere but up, and New Yorkers are feeling the squeeze. If we’re going to keep New York an aspirational city, we have to ensure the pioneers who built up our neighborhoods can stay and the young people looking to put down roots can build a life. This campaign is advancing the approach we need to take so that we build affordable housing that’s actually affordable to the people who need it most, and so we can keep New Yorkers in stable homes, off the streets, and out of the shelter system,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer

“As the Mayor continues to travel the country focused on his presidential campaign, over 60,000 New Yorkers continue to lack the permanent housing they need,” stated Council Member Rafael Salamanca. ‘People around the country have taken notice of this crisis here in the city, and until the administration concedes they need to build more affordable housing for the formerly homeless, New York’s most vulnerable will continue to be housed in less than adequate temporary housing.”

“Everybody knows that New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, with levels not seen since the Great Depression,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “If Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan is going to increase affordable housing overall, then it needs to reflect this crisis and also include more permanent housing for the currently homeless.”

“I am proud to support Coalition for the Homeless’ House Our Future Campaign because our city is in the midst of a housing crisis, and for my constituents in District 2, access to safe and affordable housing has always been a priority. With over 63,000 New Yorkers living on the street or in shelters and with insufficient expansion of our affordable housing stock, we as a city need to take immediate action. I am not only urging my colleagues in the Council to support this campaign, but also calling on Mayor De Blasio to commit to building these urgently-needed units,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.

“As we face the highest homelessness since the Great Depression, our government needs to step up and push forward a real plan that reflects the gravity of this crisis,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “The plan put forth by the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future coalition will construct the number of housing units necessary to meet the dire needs of New York’s homeless population. Increasing the set aside for homeless New Yorkers in newly constructed units should be our baseline objective. I am proud to join these advocates to fight for more innovative approaches to provide housing for the thousands of New Yorkers who have been languishing for a home of their own.”

“New York City is facing record homelessness which is steadily increasing,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “The administration has the opportunity to make real and transformative change in addressing our housing and homeless crisis by helping to get people out of shelters and into homes. Thank you to the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future Coalition for your advocacy on behalf of our most vulnerable.”

“New York is in the midst of a housing crisis with low vacancy rates, and new housing development not keeping pace with population and job growth. We need act boldly to meet demand and ensure that New Yorkers have access to housing that is safe and affordable. I support House Our Future NY’s call urging the Mayor to create and preserve new units to house people experiencing homelessness,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Chair of Housing and Buildings Committee (D-36 Brooklyn).

“Tonight, almost 61,000 men, women and children will sleep in homeless shelters across New York City. Our ongoing affordable housing crisis makes solving homelessness impossible. And despite the current construction boom, there is no clear-end in sight. I stand with the Coalition for the Homeless and the House Our Future Coalition in their call for more aggressive development of affordable housing – it is the only solution to this human crisis,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Manhattan, District 6).

“Over 63,000 people are living in our city’s shelter system on any given day,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. ”Our Mayor needs to do everything he can to get as many families out of the crowded shelter system. That starts with Housing 2.0, the Mayor’s signature plan to increase affordable housing, which currently only sets aside 15,000 units for already homeless people. This is just not enough. Of the 300,000 units of affordable housing, the Mayor plans to create or save, at least 10% should be set aside to get New Yorkers out of the shelter system. Thank you to House Our Future for making this specific point their focus and for being committed to helping New Yorkers.”

“Now is the time to commit to building more housing for New Yorkers in need. I am hopeful that Mayor de Blasio will allocate more units of affordable housing for these individuals, as part of a greater solution to our City’s current homelessness and housing crisis. I thank Coalition for the Homeless for leading an effort for much-needed housing,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

“New York City must double down on its efforts to address homelessness and we must tackle the problem head-on by providing affordable units and the necessary resources to help keep New Yorkers in safe and stable homes,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “The Mayor’s housing plan has produced results but it has not gone far enough to deliver for those who have the most severe needs for families in shelters. Permanent homes and supportive housing are the answer and we must keep fighting for every New Yorker in need. I’d like to thank the House Our Future NY campaign for leading this city in the right direction and their continued advocacy for New Yorkers in need of housing.”

“Of all the ironies of Mayor de Blasio’s tenure, his housing policies rank highest. The City is experiencing the worst homelessness crisis since the Great Depression, yet his plan would subsidize twice as many wealthy households as affordable ones. He has consistently supported large-scale development proposals for the rich against the wishes of working class and immigrant New Yorkers, and his tepidness and condescension when confronted by advocates inspires little confidence. Only a commitment to building 24,000 affordable housing units can restore whatever moral authority he has left in the fight against homelessness,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

“It’s clear that we need to be doing more to create affordable housing. While we’ve made progress, especially in preserving affordable units, we continue to miss the mark for those most in need of housing- homeless families with children, for whom the fewest affordable units are available. We need to increase the number of affordable housing units for homeless families. New York is still in the worst crisis of homelessness and the response must account for different levels of need,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

“I want to commend the Coalition for Homeless on their efforts to bring increased attention to the homeless crisis in New York City,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “It is not right when thousands of hardworking New Yorkers and their families are forced to live in shelters because they cannot afford a place to live. In the great city of New York, we have the resources available to end this epidemic, but we must continue to work together to find an effective solution.”

“There is a clear disconnect between Mayor De Blasio’s study on decreasing the shelter population and the Coalition for the Homeless’ State of the Homeless 2019 Report. The administration should adopt the House Our Future NY Campaign recommendations as part of the Housing New York 2.0 plan, and prioritize the expedition of City-funded supportive housing units,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “Additionally, the City needs to drastically improve shelter conditions to reduce the traumatic experiences homeless families face. Only through these efforts will we see a true understanding and commitment to effectively addressing the needs of homeless families in New York City.”

“While addressing homelessness has been at the forefront of our city’s agenda, affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers must continue to be a major component of the city’s plans,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik. “The current system too often seems like a band-aid on a critical wound, so I stand with the coalition to say that at this time of crisis, building significantly more housing for homeless families is absolutely critical.”

“While I commend the de Blasio administration’s efforts to address New York City’s housing crisis, our homelessness crisis must be met with greater urgency and targeted resources,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The de Blasio administration’s Housing 2.0 plan aims to create and preserve 300,000 affordable units. However, the current plans for creation and preservation do not go far enough in helping to house homeless New Yorkers. I join the Coalition for the Homeless in urging the de Blasio administration to construct 24,000 new apartments and preserve the affordability of 6,000 more for homeless New Yorkers by 2026.”

“It is clear that our City is failing to adequately serve New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. Our City needs a comprehensive housing plan to better support individuals and families facing housing instability and all marginalized people who have been failed by the system. We must commit to investing long-term in public housing, supportive housing, and affordable housing, as well as improving shelter conditions and services, to ensure all New Yorkers’ dignity, safety, and right to housing,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

“New York City is seeing an oversaturation of apartments for rent above $2,000, this is in complete disregard for what the affordable housing market is demanding. As our most vulnerable New Yorkers struggle to find shelter space, we are now observing the growth of the homeless population outpacing and eclipsing the number of affordable apartments available” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, “We have to approach the housing crisis with a comprehensive lens, and that means, developing housing for all New Yorkers, including the homeless population. New York City is in dire need of real affordable and supportive housing that speaks to the needs of homeless and low-income families.”

“As our City continues to face record homelessness, we must do better to provide affordable housing to all of our New Yorkers. In setting aside a mere five percent of built and preserved units of affordable housing for homeless families and individuals, the Administration’s housing plan does little to provide long term solutions to this growing crisis. I join Coalition for the Homeless in their call for a sustainable response to our City’s housing emergency and urge the Administration to consider the group’s sensible House Our Future proposals,” said Council Member Paul Vallone.

“As New York City’s affordability crisis heightens, it is critical our local government invest resources to create truly affordable housing for those currently residing in homeless shelters. Stable housing is directly related to higher educational attainment, consistent employment, and overall wellness and is key to disrupting inequality in our city,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the House Our Future Campaign and prioritizing homeless and low-income New Yorkers in their quest to end our housing crisis.”

“With homelessness on the rise, we are continuing to call for Mayor de Blasio to commit to increasing the amount of new affordable housing units for the homeless. It’s unacceptable that 23,000 children and their families are homeless in New York City, one of the richest places in the world. The lack of stable housing conditions affects children in all aspects, especially in the classroom. We must create a social safety net for these families, and I urge the Mayor to act immediately to alleviate the homeless crisis,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education.

“Last October, I went from Long Island City to the Park Slope YMCA to confront the Mayor about housing for the homeless.  That was nearly a year ago, and I am still in that shelter in Queens,” said VOCAL-NY leader Nathylin Flowers Adesegun. “Since that day, I have become well connected to elected officials, political organizations like VOCAL-NY, and I am already a seasoned self advocate who attended the March on Washington 56 years ago. And I am still homeless. If I can’t get out of the shelter, what hope is there for folks who need more support than me? We need a real leader in New York City–one with the courage to commit to new housing construction.”

“There has been little if any clarity from the DeBlasio administration regarding how many people currently in shelters are getting into housing,” said Andrew Coamey, Executive Director of Bailey House. “With an average of more than 61,000 New Yorkers in the shelter system every night, this is unacceptable. Housing Works and Bailey House join the House Our Future campaign to demand a commitment from Mayor de Blasio to build more housing now so New Yorkers in the shelter system can have permanent housing, greater stability, and live longer and healthier lives.”

“The homelessness crisis will continue without additional permanent, affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers. With over 59,000 people sleeping in City shelters each night and nearly 3,600 more individuals living on our streets and in our subways, the 2,682 units financed for the homeless in FY 2019 is woefully inadequate. We urge the City to do everything in its power to address the need for affordable housing amongst our lowest income community members. This is why we support the House Our Future NY ask of doubling the number of units set-aside for the homeless from 5% to 10% in the Mayor’s 300,000 unit Housing New York 2.0 plan, and further seek that 24,000 of these units be newly constructed to ensure that homeless households are able to move out of shelter as quickly as possible,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways.

“Now is the time for City Hall to deliver on its promises to turn the Tide on Homelessness!  After nearly six years in office, New Yorkers expect our Mayor to keep his promises and turn this crisis around. Over 60,000 homeless New Yorkers and the communities of faith that stand with them can wait no longer,” said Marc Greenberg, Executive Director of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. 

“We have a moral obligation to care for every New Yorker equally, regardless of class or race. Our leaders cannot call New York a progressive city if we refuse to take responsibility for the well-being of our most vulnerable. The best solution to end homelessness is to provide housing for those who are experiencing it,” said Camee Lee, member leader at Neighbors Together.


House Our Future NY Endorsing Organizations:

The Ali Forney Center
Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health
Bailey House
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.
Barrier Free Living
Broadway Housing Communities
Bronx Health & Housing Consortium
Care for the Homeless*
The Church of the Village
CitiLeaf Housing
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless*
College and Community Fellowship
The Collegiate Churches of New York
Community Access
Community Service Society
Covenant House New York
Emergency Shelter Network
Encore Community Services
Gateway Housing
Harm Reduction Coalition
Henry Street Settlement
Homeless Services United
Hope’s Door
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Housing Works*
Hunger Action Network of NYS
Hunger Free America
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing*
Kingdom Faith Developers
The Legal Aid Society
Mekong NYC
Midtown South Community Council
Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY)
My Dog is My Home
National Working Positive Coalition
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Neighbors Together*
New Destiny Housing
New York Communities for Change
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Council of Churches
Partnership for the Homeless
Pax Christi Metro New York
Picture the Homeless*
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Safe Horizon
Services for the UnderServed
Sisters of Charity of New York
Society for the Advancement of Judaism
St Ann’s Church of Morrisania
Strong Families Deliverance Ministries Inc.
Tenants & Neighbors
Tenants Political Action Committee
University Settlement and The Door
Urban Justice Center
Urban Pathways*
WE ACT For Environmental Justice

*Lead organizing groups