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The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

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ANHD Mourns Attacks on Homeless New Yorkers in Chinatown, Calls for Permanent Housing for All

October 9, 2019

There is No Excuse for Homelessness in One of the Wealthiest Cities in the World

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) mourns the brutal attacks this week on five homeless New Yorkers who were part of the fabric of the Chinatown community. Four were murdered, and one remains hospitalized and in critical condition. This incident should never have happened, and it underscores the urgency of a goal we and our members have long fought to make real: a safe, decent, and affordable place to live for every New Yorker. Increased policing of already-criminalized populations is not the way to prevent future such tragedies. Instead, the City and State must adopt proven solutions to homelessness – first and foremost, strategies that help keep New Yorkers in safe and decent housing, and create permanent, affordable homes for those who need them.

More than 60,000 people sleep in New York City shelters every night, and thousands more sleep on our streets. While people become homeless for many reasons, including high housing costs, overcrowding, job loss, disruption of benefits and domestic violence, our federal, state and local governments have all contributed to this crisis by slashing support for critical prevention services and failing to invest enough in long-term solutions. Though there are many causes, there is not one excuse for homelessness in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

This year, many of ANHD’s members helped secure much-needed improvements to our state’s rent laws - protections that will do much to curb the loss of affordable housing and the crisis of displacement that have contributed to the historic levels of homelessness we face today. We are also glad to see that Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan has created more and more deeply affordable housing than previous administrations (though the City must still do more to target efforts where the need is greatest). We also applaud the City for taking proactive steps to turn problematic cluster site shelters into permanently affordable homes. But we can, and must, do more.

It’s past time that the City and State shift resources to make permanent, affordable housing available to those who need it most. Activists and advocates have been pushing for policy changes that will help secure more of our neighbors in decent homes. Already, ANHD’s mission-driven developer members set aside 10% of their units for families coming out of homelessness for every project that receives City subsidy - a share that advocates have proposed be increased to 15%. In addition, House Our Future New York has called for 30,000 affordable homes for homeless New Yorkers, which would double the number of such units under the Mayor’s multi-year housing plan.

At the state level, advocates are calling for Home Stability Support – a new statewide rent supplement for families and individuals who are eligible for public assistance benefits and facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous living conditions – and for a Homes Guarantee. While continuing the fight for federal funding, the City and State must also redouble their own efforts to secure public housing, which contributes substantially to New York’s economy and quality of life and houses roughly half a million people, most of whom are extremely low-income and would have few options in the private rental market.

Nothing ends homelessness like a home - and there are many paths to get us there. We urge the Mayor, the Council, and elected officials in Albany to see these vicious attacks as a call to take bold action to end homelessness in New York, once and for all.

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