April 14, 2016
By Stephanie West
New York, NY — New York City has announced a comprehensive plan to ensure homeless services are delivered more efficiently and effectively. The focus will be on both preventing vulnerable New Yorkers from becoming homeless and rehousing individuals and families in shelter into permanent housing. The plan is the result of the deteriorating homeless services and safety conditions shelters.
“The homeless population has changed, but the way we fight homelessness hasn’t. It’s time to bring new approaches and resources to keep vulnerable New Yorkers in their homes and help those in shelters find new permanent homes,” said Mayor de Blasio. “As a result of our 90-day review, we now have a comprehensive plan, including significant policy changes and both programmatic and structural reforms that will enable us to do just that.”
The City will now implement an integrated management structure with both the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) reporting to a single Commissioner of Social Services (DSS), current DSS/HRA Commissioner Steven Banks. Prevention and rehousing operations at DHS will be consolidated with groups that perform the same function at HRA. A unified HRA management structure will focus on finding permanent housing for shelter residents. DHS will focus on managing and improving shelter operations, including developing new types of shelters.The two agencies will share administrative support services resulting in substantial savings.
There are four key elements to the new plan – prevention, rehousing, street homelessness outreach and improving shelter conditions. As a result of the proposed reforms, there will be administrative and programmatic savings estimated at $38 million by eliminating duplicative administrative operations and streamlining management, which will offset new program costs of $66 million that will be presented in the Executive Budget.
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, "I have confidence in Commissioner Banks' ability and expertise. Getting how our city handles homelessness back on the right track will take a lot of work, but I look forward to working with Commissioner Banks as he implements these reforms and am confident we'll make progress."