NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn unveiled a series of proposals Thursday to combat rising homelessness in New York City.
A record 60,017 people — more than 23,000 of them children — are currently in city shelters, according to Quinn, the head of the group Women in Need.
“Our city is hurting in the face of this crisis,” Quinn said during the 30-minute speech at the Hilton in Midtown.
Among her suggestions, Quinn said Mayor Bill de Blasio should appoint a temporary housing czar to speed up the process of getting needy families into housing. She wants New York to have a citywide multiyear plan that provides leadership and builds political consensus about the siting of shelters.
“People don’t think it’s getting any better, because it’s not,” Quinn said. “They’re aching for the mayor to stand up and lead on this issue.”
Despite going after de Blasio on several issues, Quinn said she is not considering another run for mayor, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports. She insists she wants to stay in the private sector to battle this issue only.
“I’ve said this over and over, I don’t know how to say it more clearly, that’s my job, that’s my focus,” Quinn said.
In response to Quinn’s comments, a City Hall spokesperson issued the following statement:
“As we continue to implement the increased rental assistance and anti-eviction programs that have allowed the city to decrease the projected shelter population, we have committed to communicating our plan to ensure each neighborhood share responsibility in housing our city’s most vulnerable. Though the city oversees the full scope of the homeless strategy, our partners are invaluable in this process.”
On the appointment of a housing czar, a City Hall spokesperson said in a statement:
“This is not about more bureaucracy: [The] City already has the biggest affordable housing program in the nation and is set to meet its targets.”
However Robert Mascali, a former deputy commissioner in the Department of Homeless Services, said Quinn’s ideas are worth looking into.
“I agree. You need a multi-year plan. I think you needed a multi-year plan three years ago, and now we wouldn’t be in the state we’re in. But anything that would do some long-range planning, because these stop-gap measures they’re using hotels is terrible.” Mascali told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.