New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is laying out a new strategy to reduce homelessness across the five boroughs. He says the city will stop using private apartments, known as cluster sites, and commercial hotels to house the homeless. He says they’ll build new or expand on existing shelters.
“Ninety new shelters will be necessary. We think it’s more than a fair trade off to build new and better facilities, cleaner, safer facilities. The overall number of buildings that are addressing the homeless crisis will be reduced by forty-five percent,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio wants to create support networks in shelters across the city to build trust between communities and the city’s homeless.
“Every community in this city has homeless people. We need a shelter system that reflects where people come from and allows people to be sheltered in their own community. That’s going to take an entire reworking,” de Blasio said.
Neighborhoods will receive a 30-day notification in advance before the city begins building a new shelter.
“And we understand why that’s been a point of contention. Communities deserve to know that they’ll get notification. That does not mean if there’s protest we will change our mind. It means that we want people to come to the table with us, offer their concerns, if they have an alternative location, we’ll look at that too. They have better ways to do the work, we’re listening, but they deserve notification,” de Blasio said.
New York City’s homeless population has grown to record numbers with around 60,000 reported. The plan calls for a 2,500-person reduction of homeless over the next five years. De Blasio expects city homeless to be out of cluster sites and hotels by the end of 2023.