Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the his administration plans to reserve 750 public housing units for homeless families, short of the 2,500 some advocates and elected officials would like to see set aside.
The announcement comes as the number of people sleeping in New York City shelters is on the rise. The number of New Yorkers in shelters is now close to 53,000 — and 23,000 of those are children, Reports The Wall Street Journal. Roughly 5,000 apartments of the more than 178,000 units run by the New York City Housing Authority become vacant each year. The number of people on NYCHA’s waiting list stands at about 247,000.
Council member Ritchie Torres, chairman of the council’s Public Housing Committee, told the Journal the plan is a disappointment, saying priority referral for homeless families is one of the simplest tools for reducing the homeless population.
The administration wants to take a measured approached to make sure families placed in NYCHA housing can continue to pay rent and comply with rules, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor for health and human services, told the Journal.
The de Blasio administration has also proposed a program that would provide rental subsidies to families living in shelters and increased funding for a homeless prevention program called Homebase. [WSJ] — Tom DiChristopher