Jennifer Fermino | September 17, 2015
Homeless New Yorkers and activists for the city’s most vulnerable will camp out in front of City Hall on Thursday to pressure Mayor de Blasio to set aside more housing for people in need.
About 20 people will bring sleeping bags and bunk down overnight on the sidewalk by the eastern gates of City Hall, said Jennifer Flynn, the executive director of VOCAL-NY who is organizing the sleep-out.
“We’re going to try and really bring the homelessness crisis to the mayor’s doorsteps,” she said.
The group wants the mayor to pledge to give 10% of all the new construction built under his affordable housing plan to the homeless.
Currently, 8% of the plans 200,000 units will be set aside for “extremely low income,” which includes homeless New Yorkers.
However, that includes units that are both newly created and preserved.
The advocates want 10% of all new units, which would bring about 1,000 homes a year, said Flynn.
“We totally support the mayor,” said Flynn.
“He’s done some great things on rental subsidies [for the homeless] but we think he can negotiate better deals with developers.”
The timing of the street sleepout is being done to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
“Certainly, housing is a big issue for the 99%,” said Flynn.
It will kick off with about 100 activists in Zuccotti Park – where the Occupy movement was born – who will then march to City Hall.
A City Hall spokeswoman said the administration “has made unprecedented commitments to housing the city’s homeless population,” including 12,000 units in the affordable housing plan and 7500 NYCHA units over the next five years.
“We continue to leverage every resource possible to prevent New Yorkers from entering shelter and helping those in shelter move out,” said Ishanee Parikh.