Former Council Speaker Criticizes Mayor’s Homeless Plan as Shelter Population Hits 60K
NEW YORK - Former City Council Speaker and Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn is back in the spotlight with recommendations for the city on fighting the homeless crisis.
Quinn is now the president and CEO of the Win organization, which is the largest provider of shelters for women and children in the city.
While delivering a speech to the Association for a Better New York Thursday morning, Quinn recommended a shift in policy towards families.
She said factors high rents and low wage jobs contribute strongly to homelessness, along with other factors like mental illness.
Quinn also made specific mention of the practice of housing the city's homeless in hotels, which drew fierce opposition from residents in Maspeth, Queens.
She says the city needs to clearly articulate a long term plan in order to calm community fears.
"If there was a really developed build plan if you will, that explained to people how over five, seven, 10 years, the numbers of homeless, how we're gonna get them into permanent housing, where they're from, where we need to build, etcetera. I think that would really tamp things down," Quinn said.
Quinn says women and children make up 70 percent of the city's homeless population.
Her speech comes as the Department of Homeless Services says the shelter population has reached over 60,000, though down from a projected 67,000.
In a statement, a DHS spokesperson said the agency will "continue doubling down" on the de Blasio administration's prevention and anti-eviction programs.
The mayor's office in a statement said, "As we continue to implement increased rental assistance and anti-eviction programs that have allowed the city to decrease the projected shelter population, we have committed to communication our plan to ensure each neighborhood share in housing our city’s most vulnerable. Though the city oversees the full scope of the homeless strategy, our partners are invaluable in this process."