Park Slope

Community Board Six hears details of homeless plan

July 13, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Community Board Six leaders received a description from city officials about a new policy for dealing with the homeless. Photo courtesy of Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6

Mayor aiming for neighborhood approach

The de Blasio Administration is changing its approach to dealing with the homeless situation in New York City to place families in housing in their neighborhood rather than ship them out to sites around the five boroughs, officials recently told members of Community Board Six.

At a meeting of the community board’s Youth/Human Services/Education Committee last month, representatives of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) outlined Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan called “Turning the Tide on Homelessness in New York City.”  

A report on the committee meeting is contained in a newsletter issued by the Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6. The community board covers parts of several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront. The board is led by Chairman Sayar Lonial. 

The de Blasio administration plans to start a new borough-based approach to dealing with the issue of homelessness that is aimed at providing families and individuals with the opportunity to be placed in housing near their home communities, according to the newsletter.

The officials told the committee that borough-based placement will create a more equitable distribution of homeless services across the city and will allow homeless people to remain close to their networks of support including their jobs, social networks and houses of worship. 

“Our district currently has 282 beds for the homeless and 308 homeless people consider our district home,” the newsletter reported.

 

Here are some of the facts shared by officials at the committee meeting:

  • There are approximately 60,000 people in DHS shelters at any one time.

  • About two-thirds of the people served are families with children.

  • One-third of the people served are children under the age of 18. 

  • More than 10,000 children 5 years old or younger are in shelters.

  • Three-hundred-eight people in shelters around the city consider neighborhoods within Community Board Six to be their home.

  • In addition to shelters, Community Board Six has two hotels housing the homeless.

DHS does not select sites for new shelters. Instead, the agency reviews proposals for new shelters by not-for-profit providers, according to officials. 

A large number of people living in homeless shelters are working adults who cannot afford to rent an apartment because of their low incomes. And among the families with children in shelter, more than one-third include a family member who is employed.

DHS officials also told the committee that the de Blasio administration is committed to ending the system that relies on cluster apartments and commercial hotels because cluster apartments have poor conditions and hotel rooms are more expensive to rent than the cost of staying in traditional shelters. 

Community Board Six does not have cluster sites housing the homeless. 

For more information on the community board, visit www1.nyc.gov/site/brooklyncb6/index.page.

 

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