Homeless offered a year’s rent to leave New York permanently

City offering to pay homeless a year’s worth of rent if they leave town

By Yoav Gonen September 29, 2017 | 9:04pm

The city wants the homeless to get out of town — and is offering to pay a full year’s rent to those willing to abandon the five boroughs.

Under a pilot program quietly launched last month, shelter residents who have been in the system for at least 90 days and have a source of income can get 12 months of rent paid up-front virtually anywhere they can find an apartment.
Their travel expenses to vamoose would also be paid under a program already in place known as Project Reconnect.
“The plan to send some families outside of New York City only speaks to the devastating lack of affordable housing here for low-income families,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director at the Coalition For The Homeless. “While it could be beneficial to a small subset of families, we would also be concerned about the short-term nature of the assistance and the stability of families at the end of the year.”

The Department of Homeless Services recently notified shelter providers of 17 apartments available across the river in Newark, according to WNYC radio, which first reported on the initiative.
Asked if they were on board with New York City providing financial incentives for its homeless residents to move to their city, Newark officials there would only say they knew nothing about the initiative.
DHS officials declined to provide the cost of the program, saying there’s no specific allotment while it’s evaluated for interest and effectiveness. They also didn’t provide figures for the maximum allowable rent the city is willing to pay.
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At the same time, they repeatedly referred to it as an old program while providing hoards of information unrelated to the pilot.
“For decades, the city has helped our homeless neighbors seek housing where they can best get back on their feet; sometimes that includes outside the five boroughs,” said DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn.
In the past five years, the city has paid $1.2 million in travel expenses — the only expense that was previously covered — for 2,512 families who relocated outside the five boroughs. Last year, the top destinations were Florida, Puerto Rico and North Carolina, according to DHS.
With the shelter population hovering near 60,000, the city is desperate to find new living spaces for the homeless.
Asked about the initiative, GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis said the city should be focusing more on job training and local support services.
“Once again Mayor de Blasio believes hardworking New Yorkers’ pockets are bottomless pits,” she told The Post.
Additional reporting by Rich Calder

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