New York City’s far-left Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to turn back the “tide of homeless” by opening 90 new homeless shelters throughout the city’s neighborhoods.
de Blasio admitted his plan to create new homeless shelters would face tough local opposition, saying at a Thursday press conference that:
We know a lot of people are going to say, ‘We don’t want anything like that in our neighborhood.’ But guess what? Everyone needs to take on their fair share to make it work better if we work together.
“The community is part of the equation,” the mayor added. “It won’t be an easy conversation, but we are going to have a different conversation with community boards, with community civic organizations and ask each of the community board to do their fair share. That doesn’t mean if there is a protest, we will change our mind,” he said.
With de Blasio’s re-election looming, homelessness has become a vulnerability that can cost him a second term. Under his three-year tenure as mayor, the city’s homeless population has jumped from 51,000 in 2013 to more than 60,000 in 2016.
“Our plan will continue to bring more people off the streets, reduce the number of shelter sites by almost half while strengthening services and keeping homeless New Yorkers closer to the supports they need to help them get back on their feet,” de Blasio declared. “It will take a united effort and the help of many New Yorkers, but together will turn the tide of homelessness.”
The mayor did not announce during his speech how much will the city allocate for the construct of new shelters. However, Office of Management and Budget Director Dean Fuleihan told Breitbart News after the press conference that the city plans to allocate “$300 million in capital over five years to convert existing buildings to shelters and to construct the new ones.”
In his speech on Tuesday afternoon at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the mayor outlined his plan to open the 90 shelters, and promised to reduce the number of people in city shelters by 2,500 or 4 percent, within the next five years.
But De Blasio also plans to cut the number of shelter facilities by 45 percent. He wants to eliminate so-called “cluster” apartments for homeless families by the end of 2021 and end the use of commercial hotels that house homeless families by 2023. “We will reduce the number of shelter facilities by 45 percent in this city,” de Blasio pointed out. “That is going to be achieved by getting out of all cluster apartments by 2021, and we will end the use of commercial hotels by 2023.”
According to the city’s Human Resources Administration, the city houses homeless residents in 273 private buildings known as “cluster sites” and uses 80 commercial hotels all across the five boroughs.
In a New York Times report late last year, the cost of putting families up in hotels that become part of the shelter system is about $400,000 a day. About 6,000 homeless people currently live in commercial hotels. More than 18,500 homeless families are housed in cluster apartments that are in poor conditions.
Under de Blasio’s plan, about 20 new shelters would open annually over the next five years on a “rolling basis,” with the city planning to expand 30 existing shelters beginning in 2018. The plan specifies that five out of the 20 new shelters will be “new high-quality” shelters.
Community leaders will be notified at least 30 days in advance before a shelter opens. Community boards will schedule meetings to “build consensus and get the community and [homeless] providers to work together.” The mayor hopes to avoid another fight with communities, where most recently in Maspeth, Queens, the plans to house homeless at a Holiday Inn was successfully blocked due to the large outcry and demonstrations from the community
The mayor hopes to avoid another fight with communities. In Maspeth, Queens, a plan to house homeless people at a Holiday Inn was successfully blocked by demonstrations from the community
“Whenever we site a shelter, we will set up a community advisory board for the idea to be everyone work in common for a better outcome,” de Blasio said.
The city’s 128-page report, titled “Turning the Tide of Homelessness in New York City,” was released before the Mayor’s address.