NEW YORK — Facing both a housing crisis and a homeless crisis, Mayor Eric Adams announced a series of reforms on Monday to help New Yorkers find permanent homes all over the city, including in higher-income neighborhoods that have not welcomed the indigent.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, the mayor is going to go after brokers and apartment owners who think it’s okay to turn low income New Yorkers away.
Adams is not saying the owners of posh Park Avenue apartment buildings have to open their doors to the homeless, but he is going to make sure the city cracks down on landlords who say they won’t accept people who have housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance.
“One should not be denied the right to housing because they are receiving assistance from the city,” the mayor said. “The Human Right Commission is going to do some testing. We’re going to make sure that those brokers and landlords and others that are not taking vouchers, that they have to he held accountable.”
The get-tough policy just one of a number of reforms announced by the mayor to help people access housing more quickly and help people move from the streets to permanent housing.
Ernestine Jackson, a single mother and cancer survivor, talked about how much it meant to move from a crime-infested area into a good neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn.
“It has better libraries, better schools, better shopping areas. Everything is better,” Jackson said.
The mayor announced a number of reforms to make it easier for the homeless to qualify for housing vouchers, including reducing work requirements for voucher eligibility from 30 to 14 hours per week, covering the cost of apartment application fees, expanding voucher eligibility to single adults, and a pilot program to give bonuses to landlords in high-rent neighborhoods who rent to voucher holders.
Christine Quinn, the head of a major shelter provider, says families need permanent housing so their children don’t grow up in shelters.
“Tonight, there will more children in shelters than there are seats in the Barclays arena, so the reforms that are being put in place will make an enormous difference in reducing that number,” Quinn said
The Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society called the mayor’s plan a good first step.
“We also call on the mayor to build at least 6,000 apartments per year for homeless households and 6,000 apartments per year for extremely low-income households,” they said.
Adams said this is just the first of several programs he’s going to roll out in the next few weeks to create affordable housing.