NEW YORK (PIX11) — Miguel, an East Harlem resident is describing his latest stay in the men’s homeless shelter on Manhattan’s east side, and his concern over what a possible budget cut would mean for the Department of Homeless Services.
“I have only been staying here a few days. But 10 years ago, I was here. And it has changed so much. I mean, there is more people. There is no room. Imagine if they cut the budget? It would be ridiculous,” said Miguel.
DHS operates the facility and a shelter system that is already bursting at the seams.
Mayor Eric Adams is now warning the estimated $12 billion needed to care for a steady influx of some 10,000 migrants a month will ultimately take its toll on New Yorkers. He is now asking every agency to submit proposals for up to a 15% spending cut.
That includes DHS.
“But the money has to come from somewhere. The simple truth is, that long-time New Yorkers and asylum seekers will feel these potential cuts. And they will hurt.” said Christine Quinn who runs WIN.
WIN provides supportive housing to some of the most vulnerable homeless New Yorkers. Quinn says rather than cut agency spending, she suggests the Adams administration decrease its reliance on so-called “homeless hotels,” and instead focus on housing vouchers.
“How can you act more efficiently and save money? Welfare hotel operators gouge the city. If the city made housing vouchers available to asylum seekers, we could save $3 billion,” Quinn said.
Over the years, we have heard from countless homeless New Yorkers about the arduous process of getting one of those vouchers and finding a stable home.
A key question is how would an additional agency budget cut impact someone like homeless New Yorker, Theodore Parker?
“I have been in the shelter system. Oh, I been going through it for a couple of years now before I even got the voucher,” said Parker.
PIX11 News reached out to the Department of Homeless Services for comment on this story. A spokesperson in turn referred us to the mayor’s office, which did not get back to us in time for this report.
It is important to note, that shifting the housing burden to the voucher process could potentially create a new pressure point in the system and that is finding enough landlords to accept them.