New Policy Brief Finds Decline in Supportive Housing Placements Alongside Rise in Homelessness Among Single Adults

Permanent Supportive Housing Key to Ending Chronic Homelessness

New York, NY — (RealEstateRama) — The Coalition for the Homeless released a policy brief today citing the lack of supportive housing in New York City as one of the primary drivers of the marked increase in homelessness among single adults. The report, “A Growing Crisis for Single Adults: Supportive Housing Placements Decline as Homelessness Among Single Adults Remains High,” says failure by the State government to move more quickly on creating the 20,000 supportive housing units promised by Governor Andrew Cuomo is his January 13th budget address is exacerbating the crisis.

“Our report shows the extent of the homelessness crisis among single adults and the crucial role that increased supportive housing must play in ending it. Gov. Cuomo’s failure to live up to his promises has a direct impact on the most vulnerable homeless New Yorkers at a time when urgent action is needed. Only by following through on his public commitment to create 20,000 additional supportive housing units can he right this wrong,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at the Coalition and author of the report. “Supportive housing has proven to be the best, most effective way to stabilize homeless men and women for the long term by combining permanent housing with on-site mental health and supportive services. It is time for Governor Cuomo to keep his word and deliver the permanent homes needed by so many of our neighbors in need.”

The report shows that homelessness among single adults is at record levels, with over 14,200 adult men and women in emergency shelters each night and countless more bedding down on the streets. Many of the individuals who deal with chronic homelessness also face extraordinary challenges, including severe mental illnesses, addictions, and disabling medical conditions.

After pressure from a coalition of advocates, service providers, and supportive housing developers, last January Governor Cuomo announced a plan to create 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, following Mayor de Blasio’s 15,000-unit commitment for New York City. But although the State budget approved $1.9 billion for supportive and affordable housing, those funds are subject to an as-yet-to-be-completed MOU between Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. By the time the legislative session ended in June, the State leaders had approved a last-minute deal to release only $150 million – leaving the rest of the funds sitting unused.

The report outlined key steps New York City and State can take immediately to reduce homelessness. It calls for:

Governor Cuomo must immediately execute a required Memorandum of Understanding to release the full $2 billion included in this year’s State budget to support the creation of the first 6,000 units of supportive housing of his 20,000 commitment. To date, a mere $150 million has been released – not nearly enough to produce a steady and adequate supply of new supportive housing units.

Both the City and State must work to open new scattered-site supportive housing units as quickly as possible, and prioritize those single adults with the greatest and most urgent needs.

New York State must partner with New York City to address barriers that block access to critical mental health programs and prisoner re-entry. Both are intrinsic drivers of homelessness among single adults. Both the State and City should increase their investments in support services and shelter for homeless adults involved in multiple systems, who tend to stay homeless for long periods of time and use a costly array of services.

New York City should increase the number of housing subsidies it provides to homeless single adults, and simultaneously aggressively fight unlawful source-of-income discrimination that prevents individuals from utilizing their vouchers to move out of shelters.

The full report is available at: http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/growing-crisis-single-adults/

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