June 20, 2024

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso Rejects Weakening of Right-to-Shelter, Calls for Innovative Solutions to Housing Crisis

President Antonio Reynoso
President Antonio Reynoso

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso has staunchly opposed any attempts to weaken the Right-to-Shelter policy and has urged Mayor Adams, the city, and the state to prioritize finding creative solutions to the pressing housing and shelter crisis. Reynoso’s call comes in the wake of his recent proposal to compel landlords to lease vacant apartments at market rates, aiming to address the housing crisis in New York City.

In addition to his proposal, Reynoso has also urged Governor Hochul to mandate nearby municipalities to provide dignified shelter for individuals seeking asylum. With a strong commitment to providing safe and adequate shelter for all residents, Reynoso has been actively advocating for immediate action.

In a statement released today, Reynoso emphasized the urgency of rejecting any attempts to weaken the Right-to-Shelter policy. Instead, he called upon leaders at the city, state, and federal levels to explore innovative and collaborative solutions that would effectively tackle the housing crisis. Reynoso outlined several actionable ideas to address the situation at hand.

One of the proposed solutions involves shortening the eligibility period for individuals to transition from shelters to permanent housing, which is currently set at 90 days. The City Council is already pursuing this action, although Mayor Adams opposes it. Another suggestion is to repair and lease the more than 3,500 vacant apartments owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which have been left unused due to Mayor Adams’ defunding of the Vacant Unit Readiness program. Reynoso also highlighted the significant vacancy rate among positions dedicated to maintaining NYCHA’s heating systems, elevator operations, and safety services.

Furthermore, Reynoso stressed the importance of funding the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) staffing for voucher programs, specifically those assisting shelter residents in finding permanent housing. He advocated for expanding voucher eligibility to undocumented individuals and allocating funds to the NYC Commission on Human Rights, which enforces anti-discrimination policies related to vouchers.

Reynoso’s vision for addressing the housing crisis extends beyond immediate measures. He called for collaboration among various stakeholders, including community organizations, agencies, and elected offices, to transform the city’s approach to supporting all New Yorkers. By working together, Reynoso believes it is possible not only to alleviate the current crisis but also to reshape the city’s commitment to its residents.

The borough president expressed disappointment in Mayor Adams’ opposition to shortening the eligibility period for transitioning individuals, as well as his decisions to defund NYCHA programs and neglect the maintenance of essential systems. Reynoso firmly stated that rolling back the Right-to-Shelter policy contradicts the city’s values and stressed the need to focus on finding practical solutions that fortify the city as a sanctuary for people from around the world.

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