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Mayor de Blasio Announces Over 30,000 New Yorkers Exited or Avoided Shelter and Moved to Permanent Housing Through City's Newly Created Rental Assistance Programs

March 8, 2016

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio announced over 30,000 New Yorkers are living in permanent housing and avoided or exited shelter through the administration’s newly created rental assistance programs and shelter exit pathways. New York City’s homeless prevention programs are continuing to help move families and individuals out of shelter and stay in their homes, serving over 107,000 individuals with prevention services, over 300,000 New Yorkers with emergency rental assistance and 10,000 households with legal services to remain in their homes.

“Stability in housing is of paramount importance to improving the lives of families who are struggling,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By providing over 30,000 New Yorkers with rental assistance so they can avoid or exit shelter, we can help take a critical burden off their shoulders while saving taxpayers money. We continue to work with all our families and individuals to remain stably housed before shelter is their only option, and help them exit shelter to permanent housing.”

“Having a stable, affordable place to stay is a key part of addressing poverty,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. “For many, housing is the first step toward a better life, and I’m very pleased to see that our efforts to find homes for those in shelter, and to help those in danger of losing their homes avoid eviction, are taking hold. There is certainly more to do, and we will continue fighting as hard as we can to provide homeless and at-risk New Yorkers with the help they need to find and keep permanent housing.”

The City’s 90 day comprehensive review of homeless services began on December 15, 2015 and includes a thorough review of all of the City’s newly created rental assistance programs to find ways to further increase their effectiveness and ultimately help more families and individuals exit shelter to permanent housing.

Since January 2014 to the present:

  • The City’s rental assistance programs, including LINC and CityFEPS, as of January 31 have helped 10,242 households, including 30,129 people, find new homes.
  • The Department of Homeless Services HomeBase program has served 107,381 people with a variety of support services.
  • More than 100,000 households with more than 300,000 people have received emergency rent assistance to help them stay in their homes, averaging about $3,400 per case, which is much less than the $41,000 a year for a family in a shelter. 
  • The City’s tenant legal services programs have served 10,000 households.

Rental assistance programs to keep families in their homes and help those in shelter exit to permanent housing are both better for families and individuals and cheaper for taxpayers. After Advantage ­– the State and City’s rental assistance program supporting thousands of families – was cut, the City’s shelter population ballooned to 50,689 when Mayor de Blasio came into office. Since coming into office, Mayor de Blasio has aggressively worked to put new programs and measures in place to tackle homelessness.

Since coming into office, the de Blasio administration has been aggressively working to tackle and reduce homelessness by:

  • Increasing by 10-fold legal service funding to assist tenants in housing courts to prevent unlawful eviction.
  • Launching a plan for 15,000 units of supportive housing ­­– permanent housing with supportive services to help stabilize lives of homeless individuals.
  • Ending chronic veteran homelessness. 
  • Launching HOME-STAT to ensure consistent, continued outreach to all street homeless, encouraging them to seek shelter, medical care and other services.
  • Removing 30 encampments and put a system in place to monitor new encampments where services are provided to homeless individuals.
  • Committing to double drop-in centers, a gateway to bring people in from streets to shelter.
  • Committing to adding 500 Safe Haven Beds, which are lower threshold shelters often more attractive to individuals who reject traditional shelter.
  • Committing to increase by 50 percent domestic violence beds at Domestic Violence shelters to serve a total of 13,300 individuals.
  • Committing to expanding daytime jobs training and vocational programming at shelters to serve almost 20,000 individuals to ensure residents have access to shelter during the daytime.
  • Committing to triple the number of beds for runaway homeless youth – totaling 750 beds.

“Government’s first, best goal when serving the homeless is this: helping people get back on their feet,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Programs like rental assistance and supportive housing are smart investments – investments that pay dividends as our fellow New Yorkers use that help to get their lives back on track.”

“The new rental subsidy programs have secured more than 30,000 New Yorkers an affordable home, and I hope their growing success will help further reduce the number of New Yorkers in shelter,” said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Committee on Social Services.

“Permanent housing and prevention services are how we will reduce the homeless population in New York City. The de Blasio administration is making concrete progress on these vital fronts,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chairman of the Committee on General Welfare.

“Today’s announcement underscores that permanent housing and homeless prevention initiatives are the key to getting tens of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers back on their feet. The ability of the mayor and governor to join forces in order to increase funding for these essential programs is, without a doubt, crucial to diminishing homelessness in New York City,” said Mary Brosnahan, CEO of Coalition for the Homeless.

“Moving homeless individuals into permanent affordable housing is the primary route to solving the homeless crisis. It is a great accomplishment of Mayor de Blasio that over 30,000 people have left shelter for permanent housing with the City’s rent subsidies programs,” said Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of Civil Practice at the Legal Aid Society.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s progress in helping individuals and families exit the shelter system into permanent housing, as well as assisting those who are at risk of homelessness so that they can stay in their homes. By strengthening existing programs and implementing effective new strategies, the administration is providing the kinds of wide-ranging services that are needed to tackle the homeless crisis,” said Mitchell Netburn, Chair of the Homeless Services United Board of Directors and CEO of Project Renewal.

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