Although the Mayor’s office has long labored to combat record highs in New York City’s homeless population, and pledged $100 million towards the project last May, the de Blasio administration is ramping up the spending even more under a revised policy. De Blasio is allocating an additional $10 million to fight what he called “an increase in the number of homeless on New York City streets” that occurred this summer, which he decried as unacceptable in an op-ed for the New York Daily News, yesterday.
Via the New York Times comes de Blasio’s new initiative called the Special Exit and Prevention Supplement, which will ostensibly provide aid to single homeless people looking to transition out of rehab and homeless shelters. The new plan will allocate an additional $10 million towards the fight on homelessness and aid up to 1,000 individuals, the gamut of whom are recovering addicts and survivors of domestic abuse.
Although the number of homeless living on NYC streets has decreased markedly from last winter’s high of 60,000, according to the Times, certain issues like over-crowded shelters have been consistent enough for the mayor’s office to budget more funds for the issue. Speaking with the Times, City Councilman Stephen T. Levin, chairman of the general welfare committee, called NYC homelessness “an emergency,” even despite relative gains on the front of tackling widespread homelessness.
“It’s an emergency, particularly when we see the vacancy rate within the shelter system,” he said, adding that “It’s a much wiser course of action to come up with programs. Time is of the essence.”
Levin’s sentiment speaks of the situation surrounding many of NYC’s three-quarter houses, which are rehab centers geared toward reacclimatizing addicts back toward a life of sobriety. The Times reports that many of the city’s three-quarter houses are in utter disarray, noting that many have been shut down for illegal conditions and building code violations.
Much of Special Exit and Prevention Supplement will aid New Yorkers who have lived or are currently living in a three-quarter house.
In an op-ed written for the Daily News, de Blasio touted his record as an advocate of New York’s homeless population, and reiterated his administration’s rigorous plan, much of which he says has already made significant strides in tackling homelessness.
“Since we arrived in office, we have put our money where our mouth is to address the issue head-on, investing $1 billion in additional funds over the next four years. These dollars are getting people off the streets and into shelters, connecting them with services for mental health and substance abuse needs, preventing at-risk people from becoming homeless in the first place, and helping those in shelter transition back to permanent housing,” he wrote.
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