2024 Sate Legislative Session Platform
December 1, 2023
Solving Ongoing Crises of Homelessness, Overdose and Criminalization by Building Safe and Thriving Communities
2024 Legislative Session
The intersecting issues of the homelessness and overdose crises are at record levels, causing a humanitarian and political crisis across New York State. Instead of investing in effective interventions like housing, services and care, our state’s leaders lean on ineffective criminalization policies that have grown jail populations, without actually solving the problems that have long plagued our state.
Since 2020, over 17,480 New Yorkers have died from a preventable overdose. Marginalized communities — low-income communities, unstably housed, older New Yorkers, and Black and Brown neighborhoods — have disproportionately higher rates of overdose, but no communities are spared.
815 homeless New Yorkers died in public spaces, shelters and hospitals during 2022, a number sure to rise as threats to constitutional right-to-shelter protections are under attack and the numbers of New Yorkers residing in NYC-operated shelters continue to skyrocket past 100,000 for the first time ever.
Over the past two years, jail populations have risen and pre-trial protections have been eroded as state and municipal leaders have sought to use punitive criminalization as a tactic to hide these and other social issues.
To address the intersecting issues of substance use, homelessness, and public safety – policy must address the root causes of these issues rather than criminalizing more people. New York must take the only moral and practical approach: double down on a politics of compassion and care, which will meet the material needs of our most vulnerable constituents by eliminating these intersecting crises and restoring the public’s faith in government.