PR: Mayor's State of the City Exposes Dramatic Need for Affordable Housing

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2015
Contact: Jenifer Flynn, 917-517-5202 jennifer@vocal-ny.org

MAYOR’S STATE OF THE CITY EXPOSES DRAMATIC NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Shelter Census Reaches All-Time High, but No Commitment to House Homeless

New York, NY: Mayor de Blasio made affordable housing a cornerstone of his second year in office at today’s State of the City address. Last week, the NYC homeless shelter census reached an all-time high of 59,000 individuals. If New York’s homeless population were its own city, it would be the 8th largest in New York State. Despite the preservation and construction of 17,000 affordable housing units, the shelter census has increased 10% in the Mayor’s first year.

“Mayor de Blasio inherited historic levels of homelessness and we applaud the Mayor’s commitment to building more affordable housing to reverse this crisis. The Mayor’s proposal for tackling homelessness amongst veterans is the right approach and one positive step. We look forward to working with the De Blasio administration to enact more compassionate policies that will dramatically reduce homelessness across the city. Now more than ever, we need a bold commitment from the Mayor to end mass homelessness,” said Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director of VOCAL-NY.

“Mayor de Blasio’s historic commitment to ending homelessness among veterans is exactly what we need in NYC – but we must do more. We need a commitment to end homelessness among New Yorkers living with HIV by expanding enhanced rental assistance and a plan to end mass homelessness for everyone by 2020. We can do this by committing to build 15,000 units of affordable housing for the homeless, similar to Mayor Koch’s successful initiative in the late-1980’s”, said Bobby Tolbert, VOCAL-NY Board member and current emergency housing recipient.

“If we build real affordable housing with well-paid union workers we can end mass homelessness in NYC and create good jobs that lift people out of poverty with career-track employment. The Mayor’s affordable housing plan should also include a commitment to targeted hiring for people low-income communities of color, especially those who are formerly incarcerated and need jobs as they transition back home,” said Alan Perez, VOCAL-NY member and an advisory board member of Momentum AIDS, a project of BOOM! Health.

A coalition of organizations, representing thousands of low-income people throughout NYC are expected to release a report detailing the solutions to ending mass homelessness in NYC on Wednesday, February 11th.

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