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NYC Pilots ‘Housing First’ Plan for Handful of Homeless Adults

The program is run by the organization Volunteers of America-Greater New York and has been called an encouraging step for addressing homelessness, but the 80 units represent a sliver of New York City’s vacant supportive housing stock.

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Eric Adams describes a streets-to-housing pilot program for 80 homeless New Yorkers during a press conference at City Hall on Nov. 14.

A new city pilot program is moving 80 formerly street-homeless New Yorkers into vacant supportive housing units while bypassing a series of grueling and time-consuming bureaucratic hurdles, Mayor Eric Adams said Monday.

The program launched in early September at four single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan run by the nonprofit Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY). It’s an example of the “Housing First” model, in which people with mental illness who experience homelessness are given keys to apartments with on-site supports without having to prove they are “ready” for permanent housing or complete onerous documentation. A growing body of research shows that Housing First is effective for reducing homelessness and keeping people stably housed.

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