April 16, 2020
NEW YORK, NY — In response to the New York City Executive Budget released today, the Family Homelessness Coalition released the following statement:
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the family homelessness crisis in New York City has never been more critical. Families with children, often headed by a single mother, already comprise almost 70% of City shelter residents. Since the onset of the outbreak, hundreds of thousands of individuals have lost jobs, many New Yorkers are sheltering in overcrowded housing, and risks of domestic violence are exacerbated. With schools closed, over 100,000 children are struggling to learn remotely while living in shelters, commercial hotels, or doubled up with other families, often with no Wi-Fi. Providers are racing to protect children and families with strained resources and expect a sharp increase in need once the current eviction ban is lifted and thousands are unable to pay backlogged rent after months of layoffs.
“New York City must act now to prevent a surge of families entering our shelter system. Families and children require safe, stable permanent housing as they overcome the life-altering trauma of this pandemic and housing instability it has caused. At this time of great crisis, we must support shelter staff on the frontlines by ensuring that they have the protective equipment and funding they need to stay safe, receive incentive pay to which they should be entitled, and continue supplying life-saving services to families in shelter. To mitigate economic and human suffering that will result from the pandemic we must also increase funding for HomeBase, expand access to upstream prevention, and provide rental assistance to prevent increased homelessness. For families already in shelter, we must streamline processes such that we can move them out of shelter and into permanent housing as quickly as possible.
“Each of these priorities is critical to ensuring the most vulnerable New Yorkers can recover from this crisis. We look forward to working with City leaders as well as engaging State elected leaders and the federal delegation to advance these priorities as we rebuild and ensure all families are on the path towards long-term stability.”