Sunday, December 2, 2018

NYC Comptroller Blasts the NYC Mayor For His Affordable Housing Debacle

 Aside from being healthy, all living beings want a safe home to live in.

The NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer has been frustrated, it seems, by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor's consistent disregard for providing appropriate housing for the homeless.

We must change this.

 Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice

From the Coalition For the Homeless:

The Catastrophe of Homelessness

Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City

The Coalition for the Homeless provides up-to-date information on New York City’s homeless population. In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. You can find more information about homelessness at the following page: Facts About Homelessness (main page)
This page provides an overview of homelessness in New York City. Here you can find the key statistics about New York City’s homeless shelter population and a brief description of some of the main factors causing modern homelessness. You can also download a fact sheet about homelessness in New York City.

New York City Homelessness: The Basic Facts

  • In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • In September 2018, there were 63,025 homeless people, including 15,421 homeless families with 22,907 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.
  • Over the course of City fiscal year 2017, 129,803 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes over 45,000 different homeless New York City children.
  • In 2015, families entering shelter came from a few clustered zip codes in the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. However, homeless families and single adults come from every zip code in NYC prior to entering shelters.
  • The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 77 percent higher than it was ten years ago.
  • Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction; doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing; domestic violence; job loss; and hazardous housing conditions.
  • Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.
  • Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces. There is no accurate measurement of New York City’s unsheltered homeless population, and recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.
  • Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems.
  • African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino, 7 percent are white, less than 1 percent are Asian-American, and 3 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity.

New York City Homelessness: Downloads

The following documents are available for download:
Homelessness Charts
Affordable Housing Plan Shuts Out Poorest NYers, Comptroller Says

Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan doesn't provide enough homes for the city's poorest families, the city comptroller says.

By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff |  | Updated 
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan leaves a dearth of cheap apartments for New Yorkers who need them most, City Comptroller Scott Stringer argues. A report Stringer's office released Thursday shows a massive gap between the number of very poor families in the city and the number of homes being provided for them.
The mismatch indicates a need for a major shift in the city's approach to the housing crisis, which could be supported by a big change in how home sales are taxed, Stringer said.
"We talk a lot about closing the inequality gap in our city, but leaving households at the edge of homelessness to fend for themselves is not how we're going to get there," said Stringer, a Democrat. "Instead we need to build more affordable units for our lowest income households."
More than 580,000 households in the city face severe housing pressure because they're putting more than half their income toward rent, living in crowded homes or can't escape homeless shelters, Stringer's report shows. The poorest households account for the bulk of those — more than 396,000 earn $28,170 a year or less.
But only 31,500 homes affordable to those people are included in de Blasio's "Housing New York 2.0" plan, which aims to create or preserve 300,000 affordable units by 2026, the report says. That's barely more than the 28,500 units available to households earning as much as $152,935 a year.
By contrast, more than 166,000 units are meant for families earning up to $75,120, but only about

 40,000 households in that income bracket are most at risk of homelessness or displacement, according

to the report.
The mayor "has recognized that the plan he originally put forth was not meeting the needs of the people who need this housing the most," Stringer said. "And he has said publicly that there has to be a shift. We have not seen that fundamental shift."
The report gives a bird's eye view of how skewed housing affordability often seems in New York City. For instance, renters needed incomes as high as $199,000 to snag some so-called affordable apartments in one Brooklyn Heights building.
Stringer called for the city to increase its investment in affordable housing by about $500 million to address the misalignment. That includes $370 million a year in additional capital money to build about 84,000 homes affordable to the two lowest income brackets, plus $125 million in operating subsidies to help keep buildings affordable.
The city should also increase the share of new affordable homes set aside for homeless people to 15 percent, Stringer said. Such a proposal reportedly has some support in the City Council. The comptroller also repeated his call to build affordable housing on the city's many vacant lots.
Stringer proposed a new real estate tax scheme to help fund his plans. He would abolish the city's mortgage recording tax, which is charged to anyone who buys a home using a loan. The tax penalizes middle-class New Yorkers who can't afford to make such big purchases with cash, Stringer said.
All buyers would instead only pay a real property transfer tax, which is currently charged on all home purchases. The tax rate would increase with the purchase price, topping out at 8 percent for sales over $10 million, meaning wealthy buyers would pay more while less affluent ones would bear less of a burden.
The proposal would have to be approved by state lawmakers. Stringer said there's a better chance of that happening now that the Democrats will control both houses of the state Legislature starting next year.
Advocates praised Stringer's plan as a bold, unique way to tackle the affordability and homelessness crises, which have not abated under de Blasio.
"If we don't start making it possible for people like my clients and people like my homeless clients to live in the city, our homeless crisis is just going to get worse and worse," said Judith Goldiner, the attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society's Civil Law Reform Unit.
But a City Hall spokesperson said the Housing New York plan Stringer critiqued is not the entirety of de Blasio's affordable housing strategy. The administration also offers programs such as rental assistance and free legal help for tenants as part of a multi-pronged approach, the spokesperson said.
The city has so far financed more than 110,000 affordable homes, 40 percent of which serve the two poorest income brackets, the spokesperson said.
"Our city is in the grips of an affordability crisis, and the Mayor is confronting it head on," de Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer said in a statement. "From creating affordable housing at record levels, to rent freezes and providing free lawyers for tenants facing eviction, this administration is fighting this crisis with every available tool – not just the housing plan being looked at by the Comptroller."
(Lead image: Row houses are seen in Harlem in 2003. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)