State leaders approve $440M package to fight homelessness

Plan includes $220M in earmarked funds over next four years

Carl Heastie Andrew Cuomo
From left: Carl Heastie and Andrew Cuomo

The state budget will include almost $440 million for anti-homelessness services for the next four years.

The package is supposed to “prevent thousands of individuals and children from entering the homeless shelter system,” Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, the Queens Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Social Services committee, told the New York Daily News.

The plan includes $220 million in earmarked funds over the next four years that were originally set aside for rental subsidies for domestic violence victims, seniors and working families who can’t afford rent, according to the newspaper. The package also includes $15 million for a new pilot project that aims to increase housing allowances to try to prevent evictions as well as $40 million in new funding for rental subsidies needed to prevent people from ending up in the city’s, already crowded homeless shelters.

“This is nearly $440 million in critical resources to combat these record levels of homelessness and prevent more families from being displaced,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, according to the newspaper.

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The city’s homeless population is at 59,068 people, including 25,000 kids, which is a record high. [NYDN] — Claire Moses