Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
The mayor unveiled his “Turning the Tide on Homelessness, Neighborhood by Neighborhood,” plan in February.
By Forum Staff
The City recently announced that the Department of Homeless Services has transitioned more than 3,000 New Yorkers out of cluster units into a mix of permanent housing and shelter since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 90-day review of homeless services in February, completely ending the use of over 800 cluster units as shelter.
According to the administration, cluster units are individual private apartments rented across apartment buildings spread throughout the city on a per-unit basis to shelter homeless families.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the City was utilizing 3,658 cluster units across 314 buildings, including 2,877 units across 236 buildings in the Bronx, where the vast majority of cluster sites have been located. Since that date, we have ended the use of 842 units citywide.
In February, de Blasio “Turning the Tide on Homelessness, Neighborhood by Neighborhood,” the 114-page “comprehensive borough-based plan to reduce the footprint of New York City’s homeless shelter system and drive down the population of homeless New Yorkers relying on shelter.” De Blasio’s plan pledges to end the use of all 360 cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities citywide, while opening a smaller number of 90 new and more effective traditional shelters. The City has committed to ending the use of all cluster sites by 2021.
“We made a commitment to getting out of cluster apartments to house our homeless neighbors and today I am glad to say we are making great progress having gotten out of 842 units, helping 3,000 New Yorkers transition out of them in the process,” de Blasio said. “Our homeless families deserve better and we will continue to take aggressive action in closing down the remaining sites and replacing them with better, safer shelters to help them get back on their feet and into permanent housing.”
Dr. Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, added, “This administration has made significant investments to ensure that homeless families have the supports and services they need to return to stable housing. Closing cluster apartments demonstrates this commitment and our dedication to providing high quality purpose built shelters to all New York City families.”