Daily News: GOP Mayor Hopeful Unveils New Homeless Plan with ‘Recycled Plans’
MONDAY, JULY 03, 2017

Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid’s Civil Law Reform Unit Head, chimes in on Mayoral hopeful Nicole Malliotakis’ homeless plan in the Daily News.




NY Daily News
GOP Mayor Hopeful Unveils New Homeless Plan with ‘Recycled Plans’
By Jillian Jorgensen
June 29, 2017

Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis rolled out a plan to fight homelessness that she said would involve building no new shelters and spending no new money — but some of the ideas are already in practice, while others could prove unrealistic.

“I believe that this is a workable plan in which we can use the funding that is existing and just getting rid of the programs that are not working and replacing it with this instead,” Malliotakis said at a press conference near City Hall.

But some of programs the city has undertaken are similar to what Malliotakis has proposed, including the creation of supportive housing, connecting people to rehabs or sober living facilities, creating intake centers in each borough and reaching out to the street homeless with the NYPD to provide services or assign people case workers. She also called on the city to tighten eligibility requirements for shelters — something it has already done, to the dismay of advocates.

“It’s great that now that it’s a reelection year he’s saying he’s going to implement this program to do something,” Malliotakis said.

A de Blasio campaign spokeswoman called her plan “full of empty rhetoric and recycled ideas” and tied her to President Trump, for whom she voted.

“New Yorkers need a Mayor who will stand up to Donald Trump and put forward an honest solution to our city's decades-old homelessness problem. That's the leadership Mayor de Blasio is providing,” Monica Klein said.

Malliotakis’ plan differs from de Blasio’s on shelters — he has vowed to build 90 citywide. Asked if she’d support one in Staten Island, which she represents, she said no.

“I don’t support opening shelters. I’m not saying just for Staten Island. I don’t support, I don’t support, I think we should look to expand potentially when we need to but we need to implement the plan first to see where we’re at,” she said.

She vowed to limit the amount of days homeless people can be sheltered in hotels to seven — citing a lack of kitchens. Asked where they would go, she said the “goal would be to transition” them elsewhere. Pressed about where they’d transition to, she cited an example of a single homeless person in Brooklyn who had recently been placed in an apartment thanks to a rent subsidy voucher.

“When you don’t open new shelters, which she doesn’t want to do, you have no choice but to open hotels,” said Judith Goldiner, attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Practice's Law Reform Unit.

Goldiner said hotels are not the best solution for homeless people, but without new shelters or much more permanent affordable housing, being able to transition someone out of a hotel within seven days was unrealistic.

“Where are you going to put them?” she asked. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Malliotakis also suggested moving more people into New York City Housing Authority apartments, in part by moving single people or couples out of larger apartments that once housed their full family. She said about one-fifth of NYCHA apartments are under-utilized, but NYCHA said the figure was 11,000 apartments out of 176,694, or about 6%.

And there would be logistical problems in moving those NYCHA residents to smaller units: There are just 68 vacant studios and 341 vacant one-bedrooms, which could be located on opposite ends of the city from where residents currently live.

“We’re moving them where we can, it’s not the answer to everything,” Malliotakis said of the figures, noting that even a few hundred people getting permanent housing would make a difference.

The Coalition for the Homeless, which Malliotakis name-checked during the event, dismissed the plan as “a mish-mash of recycled plans and trial balloons accompanied by an imperious lifestyle lecture” and urged for the city to house more people in NYCHA, other city-backed housing and to build more affordable housing.

Malliotakis said the plan would not require new funding, but admitted she had not done a cost analysis.

But the plan has incurred at least a small cost so far. It was announced a few steps away from where a breakdance crew, Breakatronz, performs — and Malliotakis’ spokesman paid the group $40 to turn off their music during the 45-minute presser.

After, dancer T.J. Steele, 25, said that was much less than what the 8-person crew typically brings in during a 45 minute show, which can be between $200 and $500.

“I’m not voting for her,” Steele said.

But it wasn’t just the money — he also didn’t agree with her plans for the homeless or the MTA.



This article originally appeared in the NY Daily News.