The city will allocate an additional $171 million a year to combat homelessness beginning in October, Mayor Eric Adams announced Sunday. The funding will go towards outreach efforts, specialized resources, and 900 additional Safe Haven and stabilization beds.
“We’re making sure that we have safe spaces for New Yorkers to live, to heal, to heal, and to be cared for,” Adams said. “We know what happened during the pandemic, people were traumatized. They lost their jobs. They’re dealing with mental health illnesses and issues. We need to create a wellness-embraced city.”
Safe Haven beds are an alternative to traditional shelters and offer wraparound services to help homeless individuals get the help they need to stay off the street. Stabilization beds are short-term residencies designed to provide a stopgap for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness before they transition to more permanent housing, according to the city.
The funding will also go towards drop-in centers, locations that don’t provide housing, but offer showers, meals, caseworkers, and health care.
The mayor has come under fire from advocates for homeless New Yorkers for his administration’s push to break up homeless encampments and remove homeless people from the subway system.
The mayor said 700 homeless New Yorkers have agreed to come to shelters since he implemented his subway safety plan and began clearing homeless encampments across the city. But it was not clear how many have remained in the shelter system.
.@NYCMayor says 700 people have now taken up the city’s offer to come to shelter. Question is are they staying? Are they still in shelter or did they stay one night and go back on to the streets? https://t.co/U5gi5azaOA— Courtney Gross (@courtneycgross) April 24, 2022
“We’re not going to just leave people living in the state they’ve been living in for so long,” Adams said. “It’s imperative for us to take action.”
At the City Hall news conference announcing the funding, Deputy Council Speaker Diana Ayala spoke about her personal experience with homelessness as a child .
“I am the face of homelessness,” Ayala said. “We cannot simply walk by and do nothing. This is a humongous step forward.”
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who has been calling on the mayor to increase spending on homeless services, praised the move in a statement, adding a call for the mayor to partner with the council on creating more affordable and supportive housing.
“This $171 million investment in solutions that can better help support unhoused New Yorkers transition from homelessness is the right approach and a major step forward for our city,” the speaker said. “Safe Havens, stabilization beds, and drop-in centers with health care services, along with care-centered street outreach, should be the consistent focus of the City’s efforts directed to our unsheltered neighbors.”
Mayor Adams promised 100 additional beds would be made available in the coming months, on top of the 500 beds that have come on line since the start of his administration. Additionally, he previewed a new initiative to be announced in the coming weeks that would deploy hundreds of volunteers onto city streets, but he did not provide additional details of the plan.
“We’re going to meet people where they are and build trust,” Adams added. “That’s why we went from 22 to 700 people.”