New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces a comprehensive borough-based plan to reduce the footprint of New York City’s homeless shelter system and drive down the population relying on shelters at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies on Tuesday, February 28. Photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office.

At press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled “Turning the Tide on Homelessness, Neighborhood by Neighborhood,” a comprehensive new plan for reducing the footprint of the city’s homeless shelter system and the need for shelters city-wide.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “Today, we turn the page by launching a new, 21st century response to the 21st century reality of homelessness.”[/perfectpullquote]

Homelessness in New York City is a problem that has grown over decades, with the Department of Homeless Services shelter census increasing 115 percent between 1994 and 2014.

In a speech at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, de Blasio outlined a plan to replace 360 cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities with 90 traditional shelters distributed more evenly across the five boroughs.

The announcement follows a 90-day review of homeless services, conducted by his Administration, which comprehensively examined City homeless policies, which included focus groups and feedback from both nonprofit service providers and homeless New Yorkers.

Photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office.

The review is the first substantial survey of the problem in decades, according to the mayor. The takeaway produced 46 critical reforms now underway to increase prevention, address street homelessness, improve shelter conditions and strengthen supports to help homeless New Yorkers transition from shelter to permanent housing.

Additionally, a new network of support systems will be established, said the mayor,  to more effectively house the homeless near the communities, jobs, school, houses of worship and support systems needed to help them get back on track. 

“Today, we turn the page by launching a new, 21st century response to the 21st century reality of homelessness,” said de Blasio. “For years, too many families have struggled against rising rents to stay in the homes and communities they love.

Our plan will continue to bring more people off the streets, reduce the number of shelter sites by almost half, while strengthening services and keeping homeless New Yorkers closer to the supports they need to help them get back on their feet. It will take a united effort and the help of many New Yorkers, but together will turn the tide of homelessness.”

Photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office.

Click here to download “Turning the Tide on Homelessness, Neighborhood by Neighborhood.” 

Also, stay tuned: In the coming week, BK Reader will launch a 3-part series that takes a closer look at the unique issues plaguing the homeless population of Central and East Brooklyn and what is needed from the City to address the problem.

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