An inaugural city report groups together shelter headcounts from five municipal systems, revealing a truer—and larger—picture of the homelessness crisis than the often-cited Department of Homeless Services count.
City Limits received Merit Awards in two categories, investigative and environmental journalism, for reporting that revealed substandard conditions and other problems in the city’s supportive housing network, and another story that mapped the neighborhoods with the most persistent heat and hot water complaints among tenants.
Anita Coote, Corey O’Connor, Trish Taylor, Sean Murray and BM |
“For decades, the government agencies that oversee and fund the supportive housing systems have disregarded the voices and needs of applicants and tenants, and instead prioritized the needs of providers, landlords, and developers.”
It’s been an eventful year in New York City housing. Mayor Eric Adams launched a new plan for housing production and a controversial approach to street homelessness. At the same time, the city’s homeless shelter population reached historic highs this year, fueled in part by an increase in migrants from the southern border and by soaring rent costs, including the biggest price hike for rent-stabilized apartments in nearly a decade.
The New York City Council held a hearing Thursday to discuss the Fair Chance for Housing Act, which would make it illegal for landlords and realtors to factor in criminal backgrounds when considering a tenant. Supporters say stable housing is key to preventing recidivism, but critics have slammed the bill, citing safety concerns.
“Just Home”—a NYC Health + Hospitals (HHC) plan to convert an empty staff residence on the Jacobi Hospital campus into supportive housing for a few dozen people with serious medical problems discharged from Rikers Island—is a pressure cooker for many of the most fraught issues in the city: homelessness, mental health, development, and the risk of crime, whether real or perceived.
The mayor issued a directive to the NYPD, emergency medical services and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene empowering them to “involuntarily transport” people experiencing acute mental health crises to hospitals, even if they do not present an immediate threat to themselves or others. But it remains unclear where they will go for continued assistance and housing after they are discharged.
A new report describes the path to social housing in New York through 20 policy proposals, from overhauling the property tax code and abolishing the city’s tax lien sale to cracking down on landlord violations and boosting public funding for tenant organizing.
“Fear aside, will our city recognize health care as a human right? If these sick people can’t be placed in a hospital campus, then where else can they go?”
During the most recent fiscal year, just 16 percent of New Yorkers approved by the city for supportive housing were actually placed with an apartment. More than half of the 7,426 eligible applicants during that time were never even referred for an interview, according to data recently published by the city’s Department of Social Services (DSS).