It has been quite a year for homeless policy in New York City.
It was last summer that the press frenzied over homeless encampments around the city, prompting a police crackdown. Then came the fall, and the mayor’s announcement he’d stop waiting for an agreement with the state and provide 15,000 units of supportive housing. April brought news that the de Blasio administration would fold the Department of Homeless Services into the Human Resources Administration to better coordinate services. In between, there were violent incidents in homeless facilities, a scathing Scott Stringer audit of conditions in homeless housing, and what seemed like welcome news from Albany: Gov. Cuomo’s $1.9 billion housing plan, which included money for even more supportive housing than the city was funding.
Everyone waited to see exactly how that money would be spent.
They’re still waiting. The state’s legislative session ended without the detailed policy plan advocates were hoping for. Spending has been plotted out for a mere $150 million of the nearly $2 billion the governor plans to put to work.
On Thursday, Coalition for the Homeless officials Mary Brosnahan and Shelly Nortz spoke with Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max and your correspondent about the fate of supportive housing in the 2017 state budget, the city’s move to restructure how homeless services are provided and concerns about how people living on the streets are treated by the press and the police:
City Limits’ coverage of housing police is supported by the New York Community Trust and the Revson Foundation.