“You can’t say, ‘Let’s house our homeless, get the homeless off the streets – but don’t put them on my street'” Mayor Adams announces $8 million relief fund

Seeking to address the urgent need for permanent, supportive housing in the downtown core and beyond, Mayor Eric Adams, the homeless outreach nonprofit Breaking Ground, and the Partnership for New York City — a collection of more than 60 Big Apple-based companies — announced the launch of the Homeless Relief Fund this morning.

Mayor Eric Adams announces a partnership to launch a homeless relief fund with the New York business community to provide services to homeless New Yorkers at City Hall. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office of Photography

The fund is a public-private initiative designed to expand mental health and housing services to New Yorkers in need. The agreement was announced at a City hall press conference Tuesday, in the presence of the Mayor and business leaders.

“Tackling the city’s homelessness issue will require a sustained multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach. Today’s announcement puts this approach into practice, with a strong public-private partnership and the recruitment of on-the-ground service providers,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom in A press release.

“When New Yorkers come together to do the right thing, we can make real progress,” Mayor Adams added. “Together with the city’s unprecedented efforts and investments in the subways and on the streets, we can ensure that none of our homeless brothers and sisters fall through the cracks.

The program, supported in part by more than $8 million in pledged donations from corporate partners, aims to expand in-person outreach by Breaking Ground employees to homeless New Yorkers sheltering in subway stations, businesses and city streets – with a particular focus on targeting high-density areas of concern like Midtown.

“We have a housing crisis in New York, and it’s playing out in every corner of the city right now,” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, president of Manhattan Community Board 4. “The homeless assistance fund recently announced by the mayor seems like a new tool in the kit to help secure housing for our homeless neighbors, and that’s a good thing. Public-private partnerships are working well in New York, and I hope that this new initiative to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers find safe housing will be successful. LeFrançois added, “MCB4 will certainly be attentive.”

A homeless encampment in Hell’s Kitchen this week in front of a recently liberated car dealership on 11th Avenue. Photo: Phil O’Brien

According to Steve Swartz, Co-Chair of the Partnership for New York City and CEO of Hearst Publishing located on 8th Avenue, “Supporting our communities and those in need is a cornerstone of our culture. This unique partnership offers support, care, safety and compassion, and we are proud to be part of it.

Charlie Scharf, CEO of Hudson Yards-based Wells Fargo, added, “The dual health and economic crises caused by the pandemic have created myriad challenges for individuals and families, especially those who, through no fault of their own, , found themselves without a safe. place to live. The city’s recovery depends on public-private partnerships, and we’re proud to join the Partnership for the City of New York, Breaking Ground and others in expanding support for people who are homeless and struggling with health issues. mental.

Midtown has been the focal point of the city’s homelessness crisis, with significant debate from residents and city officials over the best ways to provide additional affordable housing in one of the most New York dear.

Several local hotels, including the Skyline Hotel on 10th Avenue and the Travel Inn, have been repurposed as temporary shelters for asylum-seeking refugees and homeless New Yorkers, while other vacant accommodations like the Paramount Hotel – at some point talks with Breaking Ground to become permanent supportive housing – will instead reopen to tourists in the fall. The shuttered Hudson Hotel, on W58th Street and 9th Avenue, while not specifically slated for supportive housing, will be converted to below-market permanent housing through developer CSC Co -living (according to The Real Deal).

Brenda Rosen, CEO of Breaking Ground, said the organization is always looking for more permanent housing options to free up transitional and temporary housing across the city. Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters have seen a significant increase in occupancy and have struggled to comply with the city’s “Right to Housing” law, which Mayor Adams has directly attributed to an influx of asylum seekers (the impact of which has since been disputed by field visits by the Legal Aid Society of New York).

During Tuesday’s press conference, Adams highlighted his role in addressing homelessness, adding, “We’ve normalized people sleeping on the streets of our subway system, in our bank ATM vestibules — we normalized it. And in the first month of office, when I went out and visited people in camps, talked to people in tents and realized that there were people who had mental health issues and people who were unlucky. – I refused to just ignore it, I refused to ignore it,” a statement that was disputed by local homeless advocacy groups who said Adams repeatedly ordered the NYPD and to the Department of Sanitation to dispose of the belongings of homeless New Yorkers in encampment sweeps.

Street Homelessness Joint Command Center in Lower Manhattan in 2019. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Adams went on to say that the responsibility for supporting homeless people, through programs such as the Homeless Assistance Fund, was shared between city officials and residents. “We ignored the problem as New Yorkers. Everyone wants to appoint an administration – but as New Yorkers, we have normalized our brothers and sisters who sleep on the streets. And I’m not going to normalize that,” the mayor said. “Everyone has to be in the game. You can’t say, ‘Let’s house our homeless, let’s get the homeless off the streets, but don’t put them my street”, – we cannot do that.

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