Newswise — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced plans to open 90 new shelters over five years, in hopes of tackling the decades-long homelessness crisis in New York City.
Laura Tach, a sociologist at Cornell University who studies urban poverty and family life, argues Mayor de Blasio must provide affordable housing, not only for homeless families but for all lower-income families who face severe rental cost burdens, in order to curb the trend.
“The mayor’s plan to expand the shelter system is certainly well-intentioned, but it is a Band-Aid rather than a solution to the rising rates of homelessness in New York City.
“If the city wants to curb the rising tide of homelessness, it must invest much more in the provision of affordable housing, not only for homeless families but for all lower-income families who face severe rental cost burdens. A primary cause of rising homelessness in New York City is the severe lack of affordable housing, and expanding the shelter system does nothing to address this issue.
“Nationally, homelessness rates have fallen over the past decade in large part due to the adoption of a ‘housing first’ approach to homelessness, which focuses on providing those who are homeless – or at immediate risk of becoming homeless – with permanent affordable housing quickly and then providing additional supportive services tailored to clients’ needs.”