May 23, 2022

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Adams promises record $171M in homeless spending, hundreds more beds in NYC budget

3 min read

The city’s proposed budget includes more than $170 million for homeless services, Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday — including a chunk to provide temporary housing for those rousted in the recent crackdown on street encampments. 

During a press conference at City Hall, Adams took a jab at his predecessor, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, while saying part of the dough would provide 900 more “Safe Haven” beds in facilities offering temporary space for those homeless who typically shun the city’s notoriously dangerous and decrepit shelters.

Adams last month began sending out city workers to dismantle homeless encampments in the five boroughs. Though just five people accepted outreach workers’ invitations to a city shelter during the first weeks of the effort, Adams has repeatedly defended his push, declaring that living on mattresses and under tents in public spaces is “unhumane” and isn’t “dignified.”

“What we are announcing today is the largest investment in the city’s history in support of vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing homeless on our streets and subways,” Adams said Sunday of the new $171 million for the homeless services efforts.

“The previous administration talked about these beds. We are funding these beds,” Adams boasted of the Safe Haven additions. “There is a big difference between articulating the needs of people and allocating the money to give the items that are needed for people, and that’s what we are doing.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall on Sunday, April 24, 2022.
Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed budget includes more than $170 million for homeless services.
James Keivom

“This is not a one and done. This is [the] baseline, that every year this is going to happen,” the mayor said.

“The funding will include expanding outreaching efforts and connecting those in need to specialized resources,” he added.

The city’s so-called Safe Havens are among a group of small facilities with few regulations about who can stay in them. They are specifically designed for New Yorkers living on the street who often resist being moved to the city’s problem-plagued shelters. The small facilities offer on-site medical, mental-health and substance-abuse services.

Sinthia Vee, a homeless person living in the encampment, stands outside her tent with a sign to protest the police and sanitation workers from clearing the four tent encampment on 9th street off of Avenue B in New York, New York, USA, 06 April 2022.
A homeless person living in an encampment stands outside her tent with a sign to protest the police and sanitation workers in Manhattan.
EPA/SARAH YENESEL

“This funding will help expand these efforts … the things that people have stated constantly, ‘These are the things that you need to do,’ ” said Adams, whose overall proposed budget comes in at around $98.5 billion.

The addition of 900 Safe Haven beds would bring the total to more than 4,000, according to City Hall. Five hundred of the new Safe Haven beds were previously announced in the subway safety plan released earlier this year.

According to the mayor’s office, 570 specialized beds are expected to be ready by the end of 2022, and another 325 will be open to homeless New Yorkers by the middle of 2023. 

A general view of homeless people or vagrants inside of Grand Central Terminal in New York, NY on April 1, 2022.
The new $171 million for the homeless services efforts will include expanding outreaching efforts and connecting those in need to specialized resources.
Christopher Sadowski

In addition to funding for Safe Havens, the mayor announced that $12 million of the funds would be put toward the city Department of Homeless Services’ outreach to those living on the streets and in subways.

Adams is scheduled to give a Tuesday afternoon speech at the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, where he will “release his Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget and discuss his first 100 days in office,” according to a press release.

Adams has already announced that as part of his budget plan, the city would spend more than $900 million over the next five years on expanding bike lanes and other street-safety upgrades, another $2 million-plus to help an anticipated influx of Ukrainian refugees and $1.3 million a year for a curbside bag collection bin program.

NYC subway homeless
Sunday, February 20, 2022.
The addition of 900 Safe Haven beds would bring the total to more than 4,000, according to City Hall.
Paul Martinka

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