Press Release: Affordable Housing and Homelessness Advocates Applaud Mayor de Blasio’s Announcement of 15,000 Supportive Housing Units

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 18, 2015

CONTACT: Jennifer Flynn, 917-517-5202,

Affordable Housing and Homelessness Advocates Applaud Mayor de Blasio’s Announcement of 15,000 Supportive Housing Units, Call on Gov. Cuomo to Immediately Match Commitment

New York, NY – Advocates are describing action announced by the de Blasio administration as a major positive step toward addressing New York City’s unprecedented homelessness crisis. The mayor’s announcement of funding for 15,000 new units of supportive housing is in line with ambitious recommendations by leading housing advocates, including a coalition of more than 300 groups that has called on the City and State to create a total of 35,000 new units statewide.

Supportive housing programs pair affordable housing with vital services for people transitioning from or at risk of homelessness, including mental health care, drug treatment, job counseling, and more. Scientific studies have found supportive housing programs to reduce the use of shelters, hospitals, and psychiatric centers, reduce chronic homelessness, and improve stability.

“This is a huge step forward to ending mass homelessness and absolutely necessary for New York’s fight against AIDS,” said Wayne Starks, a VOCAL board member from Brooklyn. “Frankly, I would be dead today if I had not been able to access supportive housing. I was homeless and living with HIV, my drug use was out of control, and my health was falling apart fast. Supportive housing was the most important thing that allowed me to become stable, safe, and healthy.”

Following Mayor de Blasio’s announcement, advocates are now calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to fulfill the State’s part of the deal. Although Governor Cuomo has championed supportive housing throughout his career – including by founding HELP USA in 1986, a supportive housing provider – he proposed a paltry 3,900 units of supportive housing for New York City in this year’s budget.

“We’ve never had a worse situation with housing and homelessness in New York City, but Governor Cuomo seems more intent on trying to score political points off the mayor than working to solve the crisis,” said Reginald Brown, a formerly homeless VOCAL member who has benefitted from supportive housing. “It’s time for the Governor to show true leadership by matching the Mayor’s commitment and funding an additional 15,000 units of badly needed supportive housing.”

“Nothing will do more to address the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ than to build housing for those most in need. Today’s announcement of 15,000 units to be built for homeless New Yorkers, amidst this unprecedented crisis, is exactly the kind of bold progressive leadership that led NYC to elect Mayor de Blasio and we pray that Governor Cuomo will feel the holiday spirit and show us the same kind of leadership,” said VOCAL Executive Director Jennifer Flynn.

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