NYC Mayor Spends $100 Million on Homeless
Tuesday, 12th May 2015 at 10:10 am
The Mayor of New York City will spend more on tackling homelessness over the next year than the Abbott Government did on its entire Rental Affordability Scheme last year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to spend $US100 million to move more than 7,000 homeless families into stable housing.
It is understood the funding will made available in de Blasio’s 2016 Budget, which will be released this week and will total $78.3 billion.
According to WNYC News, it is hoped that the funding injection will help a large amount of the 59,000 people living in homeless shelters.
The media report said funding will also go toward anti-eviction legal services, an expansion of shelter beds for homeless youth and boosting resources for mental health services.
Gilbert Taylor, Commissioner at the Department of Homeless Services, told WNYC News that homelessness was a major priority for the Government of the most populous city in America.
“Making sure that we continue to have that ability to move our families who are in shelter … to permanent housing and have the financial support that they would need in order to maintain their homes — this budgetary investment will allow us to do that,”Taylor said.
The Huffington Post reported that de Blasio had previously made efforts to provide affordable housing to more New Yorkers, including a move to create 200,000 housing units throughout the five boroughs in the next decade.
"Affordable housing is part of the bedrock of what makes New York City work," de Blasio pointed out in his action plan.
"It’s what underpins the economically diverse neighborhoods New Yorkers want to live in. It’s critical to providing financial stability for working families, helping them get ahead and build a better life."
The Huffington Post said under de Blasio’s predecessor, mega-philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, homelessness grew by 71 per cent, but the problem has worsened under his own watch too.
According to Homelessness Australia, last year’s Australian Federal Budget included cuts to homelessness programs.
“Allocation of incentives under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) has been discontinued, with expected savings to ‘be redirected… to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities’,” Homelessness Australia’s Budget review said.
“Provision is made to fund already-allocated incentives across the forward estimates at a cost of $65 million in 2014-15, rising to $83.5 million in 2017-18. Any future affordable housing initiatives from the Commonwealth must await the outcome of a Department of Social Services (DSS) housing review.”
The review stated that other changes introduced by the Abbott Government would make tackling homelessness more difficult.
“The biggest challenges for our sector from this Budget are likely to come from changes to welfare payments that reduce housing affordability, particularly for younger and older people,” the review said.
“The new rule that people under 30 who are not ‘earning or learning’ may not receive income support (eg for the first six months of unemployment) will not apply to disabled, homeless or otherwise very disadvantaged young people. However, this change – and keeping unemployed people in their early 20s on Youth Allowance for longer – will increase homelessness risks for other young people (including by increasing financial pressure on their families if they have them).
“Similarly, lowering rates of indexation and increasing the eligibility age for the Age Pension will increase homelessness risks for older renters, and substituting a $750 annual payment for the Family Tax Benefit B presently paid to low-income single parents of school-age children will increase homelessness risks for sole-parent families who do not receive child support.”
Last week international homelessness expert, Michael Shapcott, told Pro Bono Australia News that a withdrawal of Government support could lead to mass homelessness in Australia.
Treasurer Joe Hockey is releasing his 2016-17 Budget today.