The city will now pay Harlemites and New Yorkers to take in their homeless friends and family members for up to a year under the new program “Home for the Holidays” that launched this week, the NYC Dept. of Homeless Services (DHS) announced. This initiative aims to place the 5,000 families who have lived in homeless shelters for at least 90 days in comfortable, secure homes for up to a year.
This program is only open for friends and family members of the homeless families, presumably to avoid awkward or unsafe situations. Patch reached out to city officials for clarification and we’re waiting to hear back.
The city willwhen they take in a homeless family. Depending on the size of the family they take in, hosts will get $1,200, $1,500 or $1,800 a month for their rent for up to a year. The city will also give both the host family and client family a taxpayer-funded $500 gift card, a DHS spokesperson told our source.
“This new City effort will reconnect homeless families with families and friends, assisting them to permanent housing and saving taxpayer dollars directed toward addressing homelessness in New York City,” Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said.
In Oct. 2016, there were 62,306 homeless people sleeping each night in the city shelter system. This number includes 15,769 families and 24,121 children. There is no accurate measurement of how many homeless people sleep in the streets, in subway stations or in other public spaces each night in the city.
“Home for the Holidays” will mainly focus on finding homes for. Homeless families who are taken in will still be considered shelter residents and will continue to qualify for rent subsidy programs like CITYFEPS and LINC.
Not only does the program establish safer conditions and social connections for homeless families, it could also save taxpayer’s money. According to DHS, it coststo shelter one family in the city’s system. This is almost double the amount of what the city will pay a host family with the maximum rent compensation for a year under the new program.
“Before there was just so much burden on the host family. Now, they have more options, and for the city to pair it up with the holiday season, where everyone is stretched for resources, is just smart,” Nortz said.
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