5 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings About Mandatory Savings for NYC Homeless

  1. It is deeply offensive that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has proposed a rule that suggests that homelessness is an individual problem rather than a crisis that needs to be addressed in a systemic way.

    As the article points out, the DHS proposed a rule that would require employed shelter residents to deposit 30% of their income into a fund maintained by DHS. DHS would then return the funds when participants exit the shelter. If a participant fails to make the required deposits while they stay in the shelter, the consequence may be termination of shelter placement (after some minimal due process).

    The proposed rule is described as a way to “help . . . employed individuals get back on their feet and exit shelter by budgeting for and developing savings while in shelter.” However, this statement shows that the DHS proposal is rooted in a misguided belief that the problems faced by shelter residents stem from people’s failure to be responsible and to uplift themselves. This is a distraction from the real systemic causes of homelessness.

    Rather than focusing on individual behavior and imposing a system of consequences that will most certainly worsen the lives of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, the City of New York should be making serious commitments to tackling the housing crisis. More than 60,000 people sleep in a shelter each night in New York City, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. The City needs to address these numbers by building enough housing targeting the neediest New Yorkers. As stated in the Coalition for the Homeless’s August 2019 report, Mayor de Blasio’s much-touted housing plan has exacerbated homelessness. Mayor de Blasio used limited resources to subsidize the building of expensive apartments, creating or preserving 60,000 apartments with rents above $1,700 per month, while setting aside just 15,000 apartments for homeless households. These are not nearly enough for people who are the most neediest – people who cannot afford to spend $800 per month on rent, if that much. The proposed rule is unworkable as well, because for many people, saving 30% of their income will mean not taking care of other basic needs.

    The housing crisis will not be solved by individuals saving a little here and there. DHS and the City of New York should be ashamed for rolling out a rule that reflects a belief that it is up to individual actors to overcome the housing crisis in this city. The de Blasio administration must pay attention to the neediest New Yorkers by building adequate housing at the lowest rent levels and by building housing specifically for homeless individuals.

  2. De Blasio’s NYC allows real estate brokers and landlords to DEMAND that renters EARN 40X RENT a year AND cheapest rent for a 300 sq ft studio is around $1600 in areas far from public transportation-the minimum wage for those requirements would be $64,000. But minimum wage is less than half that! The number one issue with homelessness is affordable housing and the city’s greed!

    Make the city affordable, reduce the greedy real estate practices, reduce your CORPORATE WELFARE in the form of “tax breaks” before you start blaming the disenfranchised homeless.

  3. The city should stop taxing the landlord’s thus creating higher rents if I was a landlord and the city taxed me I would do the same thing and raise my rents.

  4. This proposal inherently blames low-income people of color for historic and systemic conditions. It is offensive and misguided. New York City desperately needs subsidized housing, not yet another way to punish poor people or make them feel like criminals. Families will lose their shelter if they can’t save this amount? Sounds punitive, not helpful. Will social workers come around and ask what families spend their money on, and whether they have a fancy tv or nice perfume, too (as was documented in the 1990’s)? Poor folks can’t enjoy anything, can they? Do more, and do better, NYC. This plan is despicable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *