De Blasio’s plan for street homeless aims for 1,000 new units

Announcement comes as Jersey City joins lawsuit against NYC over homeless relocation

TRD New York /
Dec.December 18, 2019 10:10 AM
Mayor Bill de Blasio will ask developers to house the homeless (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will ask developers to house the homeless (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan Tuesday to house thousands of people living on New York City’s streets. The goal: end long-term street homelessness in five years.

The plan, to cost $100 million, aims to have developers and nonprofits create 1,000 permanent housing units for the city’s homeless. The number of transitional beds — in informal shelters — will also be increased by 1,000, bringing the total to 2,800 across the five boroughs.

“The city will work to identify privately-owned properties throughout the city with a large share of vacancies that can be converted into safe, secure permanent housing,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “These new units could be immediately occupied by eligible households, including some who are formerly unsheltered individuals.”

However, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop figuratively photobombed de Blasio’s announcement, tweeting Tuesday that Jersey City would join Newark suing to stop New York City from housing its homeless across the river. De Blasio’s Special One Time Assistance program, launched in 2017, relocates working homeless people outside New York City.

Fulop accused de Blasio of “abdicating [his] responsibility” rather than solving the problem.

“We are all for working together on solutions in a transparent and open way that works for everyone but up till now the NYC program has been anything but that,” Fulop added.

Under his new plan, de Blasio has set an ambitious target, to help “every last person experiencing long-term homelessness off our streets” in five years (although he won’t be in office then; term limits prevent him from seeking re-election in 2021). In addition to creating new units, the plan will also offer rental assistance and boost mental health care.

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