The Partnership for the Homeless

Mayor De Blasio’s affordable housing plan

Dear Friend, 

As we begin to study the details of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s audacious housing plan at we’re hopeful that it demarks the beginning of a critical first step in tackling the dramatic increases in homelessness throughout our City.  Unquestionably, we know that Mayor de Blasio appreciates the need for an unprecedented effort, from both the public and private sectors, to find solutions to a significant social problem that too many believe is just an intractable part of our urban landscape.

And, as the Mayor surely understands, any plan to end homelessness must start, first and foremost, with an aggressive, broadly-based commitment to affordable housing.  Housing, without question, is an indispensible part of ensuring human dignity and is the locus from which all other positive outcomes can flow.

Indeed, we’re hopeful that Mayor de Blasio’s plan begins to allow us, as a City, to eschew long-standing reliance on emergency shelter as the primary approach to confronting homelessness.  That his housing plan promotes a fundamental shift in strategy, away from crisis management, to one in which permanent housing isn’t simply an end goal but rather an immediate first step on the road to well-being and stability.  Numerous research studies have shown that rapidly securing housing for people who have become homeless is more effective in helping them achieve long-term stability than their enduring a long shelter stay and a progression of services before being deemed “housing ready.”

As the Partnership for the Homeless has noted before, our chief disagreement isn’t that shelter is not necessary to provide some immediate, short-term, emergency relief. Far from it.  But it can’t predominate virtually all of our efforts - especially with no long-term investment in housing.  Otherwise, we’ll continue to find individuals and families trapped in shelter with virtually no way out, as we do now.

Stay tuned for more analysis of the Mayor’s plan over the next several days and weeks as details of the implementation begin to unfold.

Thank you

Arnold S. Cohen
President & CEO