The Hon. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor
City of New York
New York, NY 10007
15 March 2011
Dear Mayor Bloomberg;
In the context of this year’s difficult budget and in the face of record homelessness in New York City, I write to ask that you reverse course with respect to referral and placement of homeless people in federally subsidized housing. It has become clear that the current City policy is not working and that the time has come to restore the policy of referring homeless people to federally-funded housing resources such as public housing and Section 8. This is the most effective and fiscally responsible solution available to help bring down the shelter census by permanently housing those living in temporary housing at State and local expense.
This change would provide immediate and long-term relief to families experiencing homelessness without costing the City or State anything. As we face difficult budget cuts across all sectors of human services, this is one area where we can maximize the use of federal dollars in order to save City and State dollars, all while continuing to provide highly effective services to those most in need. Indeed, this was the policy in your first term as Mayor.
I recognize that in the midst of record homelessness, this change may not present a full solution to assisting homeless families, and I believe that a reformed City subsidy could complement this change; I am open to discussing reforms that would make the best use of all resources.
I urge you to make this change in policy as soon as possible so as to assist thousands of New Yorkers facing the crisis of homelessness.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
James F. Brennan
Member of Assembly