Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city’s reliance on the cluster sites has grown along with the rise in homelessness, which has arguably been the biggest failure of his tenure.
Now the mayor is taking a large step toward ending that reliance: On Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio is expected to announce a plan to essentially convert many of the homeless apartments into affordable housing, hoping to solve a problem that has worsened over his first term.
Under the plan, the city would use public financing to help nonprofits buy roughly a third of the apartments currently used for the homeless, and then convert the apartments into affordable units, helping the mayor fulfill two goals: lowering homelessness and adding to the city’s affordable housing stock.
If landlords do not cooperate, the city intends to use eminent domain to take the property, officials said.
The planned acquisition involves 800 apartments spread throughout 25 to 30 buildings, mostly in the Bronx, which has the overwhelming majority of cluster apartments in the city. The city targeted buildings where more than 50 percent of the units were occupied by homeless people — a threshold that would guide future acquisitions, the city said.
The planned acquisition could place about 3,000 people into permanent housing; in some cases, homeless families living in the apartments would simply stay put, but would no longer be considered homeless. It was not immediately known how much the program would cost the city.
In other words, we're condemning buildings that already house homeless families in order to turn them over to someone else and then reclassifying the people living in them as "not homeless". This sounds like a plan. A bad one.