The Real Deal New York

After 40 years, the city is updating its RFP process for homeless shelters

Officials seek proposals tailored to the needs of those at specific locations
October 26, 2018 03:30PM

Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks (Credit: Getty Images)

The city updated its RFP process for homeless shelters for the first time in 40 years as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration works on its plans to revamp the shelter system.

The Department of Homeless Services released a new, open-ended request for proposals to help guide providers who are pitching locations for one of the 90 new shelters City Hall plans to open by 2022, Crain’s reported.

“To achieve fundamental institutional reform, these kinds of in-the-weeds changes need to be made,” explained Steven Banks, commissioner of the Depart of Social Services, which includes the Homeless Services department.

One example of a change to the new process: Whereas the old RFP asked for bids for generic homeless shelters, the new one spells out specific parameters depending on who will occupy the shelter.

Shelters for adults, for instance, should include services for medical attention, while those designed for children should have educational components.

City officials said they have selected 24 sites toward the 90 proposed shelters, 17 of which are up and running. The city is moving away from controversial cluster sites – apartments in multifamily buildings – but in the meantime they’re having to put more people in costly hotels.

Earlier this month, the city revamped and simplified its rental voucher system. [Crain’s] – Rich Bockmann