Howard Beach, NY (December 1, 2016) On the heels of a recently released report highlighting the vast number of vacant properties across the five boroughs, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is once again calling on the city to make use of the empty space to combat New York’s increasing homeless problem.
A recent study conducted by the Municipal Art Society of New York found that about 20 percent – more than 2,700 – of the properties now owned or leased by a city agency are classified as having “no current use.” More than 1,100 of these properties are located here in Queens, with nearby Brooklyn containing more than 1,000 sites not currently being used.
“These pieces of land that are owned or leased by the City of New York are costing valuable taxpayer dollars to keep and maintain, made worse by the fact that they are sitting unused in a time of serious need,” said Addabbo. “While Mayor de Blasio is busy spending $1.7 billion in additional taxpayer money in his unsuccessful attempt to fight homelessness, further precious resources are being wasted to hold onto these properties that could be used to fight this same crisis.”
In October, Addabbo was joined at City Hall by several other elected officials from around Queens who denounced Mayor de Blasio’s decision to continue using hotels as shelters in order to combat the rise in the number of homeless New Yorkers, a figure that has now reached an all-time high of more than 60,000 people. During the press conference, the Senator made numerous suggestions detailing alternative plans of action – including utilizing vacant land across New York – that the city could employ not only to provide more adequate shelter for those in need, but to keep New Yorkers from losing their homes in the first place.
“As more inappropriate, prison-like accommodations for homeless individual continue to pop up throughout the five boroughs, more than 8,500 acres of city owned or leased land has been sitting vacant, being wasted when it could instead be helping us solve this increasingly serious problem,” Addabbo said. “By this point, we have all seen that converting hotels into living space is not an adequate solution to this crisis. These facilities are not equipped to serve as a primary residence, offering minimal, limited amenities and only further delaying the transition into permanent housing. I have publically stated several times now that Mayor de Blasio needs to take advantage of vacant properties across the city to construct more affordable housing or even build quick, temporary modular apartments that are more appropriate than simply warehousing people into hotel rooms for years at a time. With this news confirming the thousands of properties that are already under city control but not being used, there is no excuse to let them sit vacant while more than 60,000 people need our help. It is time for this administration to stop ignoring the fact that there are more viable alternatives than staying on a failed course.”
In addition to his suggestion to use vacant properties to help find more housing and shelters for the homeless, Addabbo has also proposed increasing rent subsidies to prevent New Yorkers on a budget from losing their homes and restructuring the cluster site program that seeks to assimilate homeless individuals into available apartments throughout the city rather than using shelters as a transition.
Background: Large swath of city-owned property is underutilized: report — http://therealdeal.com/2016/11/28/large-swath-of-city-owned-property-is-underutilized-report/