June 17, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

While we are encouraged by your administration’s significant and early efforts to address
New York’s historic homelessness crisis, we write to express our concerns that the City’s
plan does not allocate nearly the sufficient number of public housing apartments to help
homeless families and children obtain permanent housing.

As you know, previous New York City mayors successfully used federal housing
programs to address the problem of family homelessness. Mayors Koch, Dinkins,
Giuliani – and even Bloomberg in his first term – made priority referrals of tens of
thousands of homeless families to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public
housing apartments, along with federal Section 8 housing vouchers.

This successful approach was the cornerstone of New York City’s efforts to ensure needy
homeless children and families could secure stable, permanent housing and saved
taxpayers millions of dollars each year that would otherwise have been spent on the
costly shelter system.

Unfortunately, nearly a decade ago Mayor Bloomberg eliminated priority referrals of
homeless families to NYCHA public housing and housing vouchers – effectively denying
the neediest NYC access to federal housing aid – and your administration inherited the
resulting unprecedented crisis.

This much is clear: A problem this big requires big solutions. Reducing the record
number of homeless families with children in New York City will require a significant
commitment of permanent housing resources, and in particular public housing

For that reason we are extremely disappointed by NYCHA’s current proposal to allocate
only 750 public housing apartments each year to homeless families. This is far less than
the City allocated under previous mayors, despite the fact that the number of homeless
families and children is far higher now than under previous administrations. The current
proposal represents less than 15% of NYCHA vacancies. And it comes at a time when
the housing authority, continuing a Giuliani-era policy, actually prioritizes thousands of
public housing apartments for households with no demonstrated housing needs –
including hundreds of families whose annual incomes exceed $40,000.


We believe the City of New York can and must do more to help the neediest families and
children with our federal housing resources. We urge you and your administration to
increase the number of public housing apartments allocated to homeless families to at
least 2,500 units each year. In addition, in light of the fact that approximately 30% of
homeless families are working, we urge you to prioritize this population in NYCHA’s
working family priority list. Only with such a commitment can we begin to stem the rise
of family homelessness, and finally begin to reduce the number of families sleeping each
night in our shelter system.

In addition, we understand the financial constraints faced by NYCHA. We are
committed to working with NYCHA and the City to ensure the cost of needed support
services for families leaving the shelter system and entering NYCHA are not borne by
NYCHA alone.

We look forward to working with you and your administration towards our shared goal of
ending homelessness in New York City.


Stephen T. Levin
District 33

Ritchie Torres
District 15

Corey Johnson
District 3

Helen Rosenthal
District 6
Mark Levine
District 7

Ydanis Rodriguez
District 10

Vanessa Gibson
District 16

Annabel Palma
District 18

Costa Constantinides
District 22

Daniel Dromm
District 25

Donovan Richards
District 31

Antonio Reynoso
District 34

Laurie Cumbo
District 35

Carlos Menchaca
District 38

Brad Lander
District 39

Inez Barron
District 42

Jumaane D. Williams
District 45

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