Inspired, strengthened and sustained by faith, the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing is committed to confronting the unconscionable and unacceptable reality of homelessness in New York City. Recognizing society's shared responsibility and working as partners with those who have experienced homelessness, the Assembly will mobilize communities of faith to empower all people, to advocate public policies to eliminate homelessness, and strive for the transformation of society.
Advocates criticize the lack of transitional housing support as NYC cuts programs; Mayor Michael Bloomberg falls far short of goal to slash shelter rolls.
from Crain's New York:
New York City is about to experience a new kind of democracy. Over the next several months, we will undertake an exciting initiative to put budgeting decisions directly in the hands of the people those decisions will impact most – the residents of our districts.
Participatory budgeting is grassroots democracy at its best. Residents of four diverse City Council districts from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, will come together to decide what to do with the districts' capital funding budget, the part of the budget that is used to repair streets, improve parks, buy school technology, or build bike lanes. Community members will exchange and debate ideas, work together to turn ideas into project proposals, and then decide what ideas get funded at the ballot box. The process will make budgeting more transparent and accessible. It will open up participation to people who have never been involved before. And it will make budgeting more effective, because who knows better what is needed in our communities than the people who live there?
Four New York City Council Members are launching Participatory Budgeting in 2011:
From New York Times:
By EDWARD WYATT
Published: August 10, 2011
WASHINGTON — Uncle Sam wants you — to rent a house from Uncle Sam.
The Obama administration said on Wednesday that it was soliciting ideas on how to turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk.
City officials announced Wednesday morning that New York is ahead of schedule on its ambitious 10-year housing plan.
“With better than expected results this past year, we're now more than three-quarters of the way towards our goal to create and preserve 165,000 affordable housing units for 500,000 New Yorkers by the end of 2014,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a press statement. “That's more people than who live in Miami.”
Since 2004, the city has funded 124,495 units of housing for middle-class and low-income New Yorkers as part of its $8.4 billion housing initiative dubbed New Housing Marketplace Plan. In the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, the city invested $1.3 billion in creating or preserving 15,827 units, surpassing the goal for the year by more than 1,100 units. Mr. Bloomberg, along with other city officials and housing advocates, announced the figures at West Farms Square, a 526-unit affordable housing project in the Bronx that was distressed until the city stepped in last year to refinance and rehabilitate the property with $59 million in fresh capital. Financing of all the projects stemmed from city funds, monies raised from bond offerings and various agencies.
About 74% of the total units that were funded this past year were either badly deteriorated apartments rehabbed for existing tenants or were in financially distressed buildings. When the real estate market collapsed and financing froze three years ago, the city decided to focus its efforts on preserving affordable housing as opposed to creating new housing. Since the inception of the city housing plan, 81,484 apartments have been saved.