Homeless advocates demand more affordable housing in New York City

MANHATTAN — Homelessness in New York City continues to rise.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, close to 79,000 New Yorkers are homeless.

Activists gathered on the steps of City Hall Friday to let Mayor Bill de Blasio know they are not happy with how the city has handled the homeless crisis.

"For shame, for shame, de Blasio's to blame!," they chanted.

"After 6 years in office, Mayor de Blasio has no clear plan right now to end or meaningfully reduce homelessness," said Felix Guzman of Vocal NY.

Gwen Black was forced out of her rent controlled apartment more than 2 years ago. She is having a hard time finding an affordable place to live.

"A lot of the development that is going on, they are asking people for $2,500 for a two-bedroom apartment," she said.

The coalition of activists, elected officials and homeless New Yorkers demanded New York City create truly affordable housing. They want 24,000 new units of affordable housing and 6,000 more preserved for the homeless by 2026.

"What we mean by affordable is actually low rent housing," Giselle Routhier of the Coalition For The Homeless said. "And a lot of times what it could mean specifically for a homeless household, maybe if they are working, they may just be paying 30% of their income on rent."

"We’ve helped nearly 120,000 New Yorkers out of the shelter system and into permanent homes," said Mayor de Blasio's Deputy Press Secretary, Avery Cohen. "We’ve also committed at least 10 percent of virtually all the new affordable housing created be set aside for homeless New Yorkers."

The de Blasio administration said it is committed to getting every homeless New Yorker into a safe, affordable and permanent home.

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