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A chastened Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a new approach for addressing the homelessness problem that has dogged him since he promised in his inauguration speech three years ago to make the city "a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and...

De Blasio unveils new homeless initiative

A chastened Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a new approach for addressing the homelessness problem that has dogged him since he promised in his inauguration speech three years ago to make the city "a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and...

De Blasio unveils new homeless initiative

A chastened Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a new approach for addressing the homelessness problem that has dogged him since he promised in his inauguration speech three years ago to make the city "a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and raise a family."

Noting that "it's taken us three years to realize some of these hard truths," the mayor announced plans to reduce the city’s reliance on hotels to temporarily warehouse homeless families by building new shelters that will house people from nearby neighborhoods. He pushed back a deadline to get out of much-maligned cluster sites that house homeless New Yorkers in landlord-operated apartment buildings but are criticized as taking permanent housing off the market.

In expanding the number of new shelters by 90 in the coming years, the mayor promised to improve the conditions for those living in them. The mayor believes he can ultimately reduce the number of homeless by 2,500 people by the end of 2021. The homeless population has stabilized at a record of 60,000 people, mostly members of families. Steven Banks, commissioner of the city Department of Social Services, will discuss the administration's homeless programs at a Crain's forum Wednesday.

article continues below advertisement "Are these again the most satisfying goals?" the mayor said. "No. They're the ones we believe are real."

Among the 90 new shelters will be 20 in 2017 and 20 in 2018, according to a city plan released Tuesday. In contrast, the administration opened only four new shelters in 2015 and 8 in 2016.

De Blasio acknowledged that such a move could be politically unpopular, but promised that his administration would engage early with communities in the neighborhoods where new shelters are being proposed.

"We also can listen better, we can notify better, we can work with communities to find better approaches even if there's always going to be some resistance to a facility in a neighborhood," he said.

Most other components of the plan, such as increases in funding for low-income housing and housing court lawyers to prevent eviction, had been rolled out prior to Tuesday's press conference. The mayor's HOME-STAT program geared toward individuals living in the street has resulted in 690 people have coming and staying off the street, he said.

The plan, laid out in a report titled "Turning the Tide on Homelessness in New York City," attributes the city's affordability crisis to two major drivers: the gap between incomes and rents and the long-term loss of rent-regulated apartments.

Rent has grown at triple the pace of income over the past decade, according to the report.  Between 1994 and 2012, nearly a quarter of a million city apartments came out from under rent regulation, according to the report. All the tax incentives and subsidy-backed affordable housing built over those 18 years did not make up for half of the shortfall, with the city seeing a net loss of 150,000 stabilized units, roughly a sixth of the total rent-regulated stock.          

To address domestic violence, a top reason New Yorkers enter shelters, the city will create 300 new emergency beds for domestic violence survivors and 400 new longer-term shelter units.

A chastened Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a new approach for addressing the homelessness problem that has dogged him since he promised in his inauguration speech three years ago to make the city "a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and raise a family."

Noting that "it's taken us three years to realize some of these hard truths," the mayor announced plans to reduce the city’s reliance on hotels to temporarily warehouse homeless families by building new shelters that will house people from nearby neighborhoods. He pushed back a deadline to get out of much-maligned cluster sites that house homeless New Yorkers in landlord-operated apartment buildings but are criticized as taking permanent housing off the market.

In expanding the number of new shelters by 90 in the coming years, the mayor promised to improve the conditions for those living in them. The mayor believes he can ultimately reduce the number of homeless by 2,500 people by the end of 2021. The homeless population has stabilized at a record of 60,000 people, mostly members of families. Steven Banks, commissioner of the city Department of Social Services, will discuss the administration's homeless programs at a Crain's forum Wednesday.

article continues below advertisement "Are these again the most satisfying goals?" the mayor said. "No. They're the ones we believe are real."

Among the 90 new shelters will be 20 in 2017 and 20 in 2018, according to a city plan released Tuesday. In contrast, the administration opened only four new shelters in 2015 and 8 in 2016.

De Blasio acknowledged that such a move could be politically unpopular, but promised that his administration would engage early with communities in the neighborhoods where new shelters are being proposed.

"We also can listen better, we can notify better, we can work with communities to find better approaches even if there's always going to be some resistance to a facility in a neighborhood," he said.

Most other components of the plan, such as increases in funding for low-income housing and housing court lawyers to prevent eviction, had been rolled out prior to Tuesday's press conference. The mayor's HOME-STAT program geared toward individuals living in the street has resulted in 690 people have coming and staying off the street, he said.

The plan, laid out in a report titled "Turning the Tide on Homelessness in New York City," attributes the city's affordability crisis to two major drivers: the gap between incomes and rents and the long-term loss of rent-regulated apartments.

Rent has grown at triple the pace of income over the past decade, according to the report.  Between 1994 and 2012, nearly a quarter of a million city apartments came out from under rent regulation, according to the report. All the tax incentives and subsidy-backed affordable housing built over those 18 years did not make up for half of the shortfall, with the city seeing a net loss of 150,000 stabilized units, roughly a sixth of the total rent-regulated stock.          

To address domestic violence, a top reason New Yorkers enter shelters, the city will create 300 new emergency beds for domestic violence survivors and 400 new longer-term shelter units.

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