The Business of Homelessness
This year, for the first time, the city’s share of homeless shelter spending will top ONE BILLION DOLLARS, bringing the total expense budget for DHS to 1.8 billion dollars. With so much money moving around, it’s clear that homelessness is “big business” in NYC–but if the system is bad for the budget, bad for homeless people, and bad for neighborhoods, who exactly is profiting?
The cost of sheltering a homeless person can run anywhere from $2000-7500/month (and sometimes more than that) – far more than the cost of even a luxury apartment! And yet – in spite of all the money associated with a shelter stay, residents are forced to endure restrictive, austere, and inhumane conditions.
“Business as usual” isn’t working. Homeless people have a better plan, and later this month we’ll drop our report, “The Business of Homelessness: Human and Financial Costs of the Shelter-Industrial Complex.” This groundbreaking document is the result of a year-long investigation by Picture the Homeless’s research committee into the fiscal policies and priorities that influence the lives of homeless New Yorkers… and how those priorities could be adjusted to support permanent, stable, and decent housing for the lowest income New Yorkers.
The city says it is too expensive to subsidize housing for households of extremely low income, when actually it is more expensive not to.
This mess may be the consequence of multiple mayoral administrations refusing to confront the problem, but the Bill de Blasio Administration has the power to help end the Business Of Homelessness by backing the bold brave ideas coming from homeless folks.