NYC Moves 30,000 Homeless to Permanent Housing

NEW YORK, Mar 8 2016 (IPS) - Grappling with an ever-growing problem of a housing shortage facing low income residents, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to provide 30,000 New Yorkers with rental assistance for permanent housing — largely to avoid or exit shelters.

The newly created program is meant not only to provide stable and affordable housing but also address poverty in one of the world’s richest nations.

“Stability in housing is of paramount importance to improving the lives of families who are struggling,” he told reporters, pointing out that New York City’s homeless prevention programs are now serving over 107,000 individuals with prevention services, over 300,000 with emergency rental assistance and more than 10,000 households with legal services to help them remain in their homes.

Currently, New York City has a total population of more than 8.5 million people. Since last January, the City’s rental assistance program has helped 10,242 households, including 301,129 finding new affordable homes. And the number of people living in City shelters is estimated at over 58,000.

By providing rental assistance, de Blasio argued, “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.”

Adrienne Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of Civil Practice at the Legal Aid Society, said moving homeless individuals to permanent affordable housing is the primary route to solving the City’s 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.”

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