New York City will seek to build 15,000 new units of housing designed to help connect homeless residents with on-site services for those with specific needs.
At a total expected cost of $2.6 billion, City Hall expects to pay for development and construction of the units with money devoted in the next city budget and from private sources as well as by tax credits.
While the rollout of new housing will span over a decade, City Hall officials acknowledged the lack of an immediate fix for New York City’s current battle against record homelessness.
There are currently 32,000 supportive housing units across the city, and the city’s Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steve Banks recognized that is not for all New Yorkers in need.
Banks said the city has an existing waitlist that includes homeless but also domestic violence survivors, veterans, those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and people overcoming substance abuse
“Of that population within the shelter system, there are about five people for every one slot that’s available,” Banks said. “So it will make a tremendous difference by filling that gap.”
News of the city’s plan comes amid an ongoing battle with state legislature in Albany, which has traditionally pitched in to cover supportive housing plans.
While a bipartisan group of 26 state Senators sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to echo an existing request by 133 Assembly members, de Blasio said the city would “not wait on anyone else” to pay for supportive housing.
In late October, New York City saw one of the latest additions to its supportive housing stock with the opening of a 63-unit building by local organization Services for the UnderServed.
The $21.3 million project — with investments by both the city and state — at 3361Third Avenue in the Bronx’sMorrisanianeighborhood took two years and will host previously homeless New Yorkers as well as those recovering from mental illness.
Services for the UnderServed Chief of Staff Judith Jackson told Metro that supportive housing offers a opportunity to New Yorkers who need a little extra help to turn their lives around.
“It starts with the belief that people can recover from their circumstances,” Jackson said. “And if people can get the tools that they need — whether it’s vocational or substance abuse services — they can live full, meaningful lives.”
Her organization currently oversees about 3,200 supportive housing units and expects to develop some 1,000 more by 2018.
“Every person’s challenges will be different, but we scale it up to work with more than one individual,” Jackson said. “It’s really about addressing problems we face as a society that allows us to make a difference.”