State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and his colleagues are calling for an additional $2 million in funding for “Emergency Needs of the Homeless” in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Hevesi and 13 members of the New York State Legislature sent a signed letter with their requests to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 20.
“New Yorkers who are experiencing homelessness, or who are on the verge of experiencing homelessness, face daunting obstacles in their efforts to secure and retain stable, affordable housing, and as we all know, housing is healthcare,” said Hevesi, chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Social Services. “In times of crisis, these obstacles grow exponentially, and we therefore ask that additional assistance be made available for this population.”
The lawmakers are requesting an additional $2 million to the “Emergency Needs of the Homeless” line in the final state budget — bringing the total to $3 million.
The funds are essential to expand services, including additional food assistance from the Coalition for the Homeless at a time when soup kitchens are closing down, eviction prevention services which are vital beyond the current time limited eviction moratorium, crisis staff and other essential services.
They’re also asking for immediate authorization of basic needs allowances for individuals in shelters and on the streets, including those who are presently receiving the much smaller personal needs allowances.
Lastly, immediate suspension of local requirements to pay shelter rent or participate in mandatory savings programs or program fee agreements as a condition of receiving shelter.
“In times of crisis, we must ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors have access to vital crisis resources, and we must support our providers on the front lines with resources to adequately serve them,” Hevesi said.