Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his Administration will create 15,000 units of supportive housing to provide stable homes for many New Yorkers homeless for years and facing a multitude of challenges including serious medical and behavioral health issues, substance use disorders, histories of violence and trauma, and unemployment.
The Mayor knows supportive housing has a good track record. The idea of pairing affordable housing with access to case management and supportive services was a novel one in the 1980s and 1990s, but there is now ample evidence that proves supportive housing is the most effective intervention to end homelessness and address a host of other obstacles faced by those on the street for long periods of time. Supportive housing works for many people and has been particularly successful in reducing the numbers of military veterans thrown into homelessness after their service to our nation.
The Mayor's plan for more supportive housing in New York is nothing short of seismic for local organizations and providers working in difficult circumstances, seeing and meeting homeless people every day, taking risks and pursuing all avenues to address the needs of individuals who have been through hell and back.
Advocates such as our partners in the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing have been conveying an important message for years now - the City and State of New York can address homelessness with far greater impact and results if they work together, pool resources, and ensure the housing needs in urban as well as suburban and rural areas are met.
The Mayor's announcement demonstrates the bold action that cities across the country can take. Localities can be the driver of serious responses to homelessness but even more substantial resources come from the states and federal government. Their investment propels long-term housing solutions that address all the needed layers for successful housing - supply, affordability and services.
We are encouraged that a group of thoughtful New York Senators and members of the Assembly have joined with us to call for more action. Only when we work as a team can we tackle such intrinsic and complex issues as homelessness.
Today, our main focus and praise is reserved for Mayor de Blasio, and his leadership and determination to address some of the most complex problems we face.