The new head of the Assembly Social Services Committee is developing a package designed to address the rising homelessness crisis in the city, the Daily News has learned.
“We have the worst homeless crisis since the Great Depression,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, the Queens Democrat appointed this past week as chair of the Social Services Committee by new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Hevesi wants to increase public assistance housing allowances, some of which haven’t gone up since 2003.
“By increasing the allowance, you’re keeping people in their homes and out of the shelter system,” he said. “You’re also helping those in the system get out.”
Ultimately, he added, it would be cheaper than housing people in shelters.
There’s also a need for better coordination among dozens of programs designed to help keep people out of the shelter system. Too many gaps exist that result in people heading back into homelessness, Hevesi said.
He’s also calling for creation of a reinvestment fund where money saved from every shelter bed closed would be put back into supportive housing programs.
How about closing the loophole that allows everyone in the world to show up at DHS and seek shelter? Residency requirements seem to work in other states.