UPDATED PRESS STATEMENT | February 16, 2018
Contact: Paulette Soltani, 775-340-2359, email@example.com
HOUSING ADVOCATES RESPOND TO GOVERNOR CUOMO’S FALSE CLAIM THAT HIS ACTION TO END HOMELESSNESS IS ‘SECOND TO NONE’
In response to an Associated Press piece on Monday, February 12, 2018 where the Cuomo administration made claims that their affordable housing plan is ‘second to none’, the Albany Can End Homelessness in NYS Campaign released the following statement from spokesperson Paulette Soltani of VOCAL-NY:
“Governor Cuomo’s office said his efforts to address the state’s homeless problem are the most ambition ever, including an affordable housing plan that has committed funding for 2,500 units, and remains on track to create 6,000 units over five years. Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said Cuomo’s record of delivering for homeless New Yorkers is “second to none – we’ll leave the grandstanding and empty promises to the advocates.” – Associated Press
“In 2016, Governor Cuomo committed to building an initial 2,500 units of supportive housing. Today, not a single homeless person has occupied those units. It’s unclear if any housing has even been completed. And while his administration lauds his commitment to build 6,000 units over five years, a bi-partisan, statewide campaign spent years proving the need to create 20,000 units of supportive housing. The fact is, Governor Cuomo led our state to the highest homelessness numbers ever on record, with a 41% increase between 2011-2015. More than 88,000 New Yorkers sleep in shelters every night.
“We urge the New York State press corp to dig deeper into the facts around Governor Cuomo’s homelessness commitments. Ever since his 2016 commitment of $10 billion dollars to tackle homelessness, his administration has misled our state by making multiple press announcements regarding the same allocation of money, and providing little to no details on how much money is being spent and when housing will be built.
“While Governor Cuomo accused us of “grandstanding,” the proposals laid out at Monday’s press conference are supported by members of both parties, by advocates across the state, and by homeless New Yorkers.
“The Homes Stability Support (HSS) plan (A8178) is a statewide rental supplement for low-income families and individuals who are facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. The Governor’s support for this proposal is ever more urgent, as New York City alone stands to lose 15,000 rental vouchers in the federal budget.
“In addition, Governor Cuomo’s own Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Blueprint recommends expanding access to the HIV Enhanced Shelter Allowance (ESA) and 30% rent cap affordable housing protection statewide for approximately 3,700 HIV-positive people in upstate New York and Long Island who are homeless or unstably housed. Governor Cuomo’s proposal in the Executive Budget and 30-day amendments falls short because it is not a mandate and allows local social service districts the option of not expanding the same life-saving housing support employed by NYC. Failing to make these additional fixes to the budget language will perpetuate inequity in housing access for people with HIV in upstate NY and Long Island who have been ignored and neglected for too long while their health deteriorates and people die.
“HSS and the HIV Enhanced Shelter Allowance are immediate solutions that would cost the state less than $50 million this year. Given Governor Cuomo’s “historic” $10 billion commitment to confronting homelessness, we implore him to explain why HSS has not been included in this year’s budget, and why HIV-positive New Yorkers living upstate or in Long Island, deserve less than those living in NYC.”
Below are reactions from additional members of the Albany Can End Homelessness in NYS campaign:
“I came to Albany because I need a home, and because I know that over 88,000 other New Yorkers do as well. I did not come to grandstand,” said Georgia Morgan, VOCAL-NY member and homeless New Yorker. “I know that politicians don’t like to protested, but I didn’t expect him to blame the victims of a homeless crisis he created.”
“The administration’s response to record homelessness in our state goes past a refusal to acknowledge the crisis our state is in, it silenced the voices of people fighting for the most basic of human needs: a home,” said Emily McNeil, Executive Director of Labor and Religion Coalition. “These remarks from the Cuomo administration lack compassion and decency.”
“The spokesman for the Governor is right on the money, Cuomo’s track record of delivering for homeless is second to none. No other Governor in modern history has allowed a crisis of this magnitude to grow exponentially on his watch. The Governor has allowed more people, including thousands of children, to become homeless, and he continues to allow the problem to grow. His record is second to none, but his spokesman really shouldn’t be highlighting it,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Committee on Social Services.