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TO ADDRESS USUAL AFTER-SCHOOL-YEAR INCREASE IN HOMELESSNESS, CITY OFFERS PARENTS RESOURCES TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES
Department of Social Services, Department of Education double down on homelessness prevention as summer approaches by connecting families to Homebase services at local public schools across the City
NEW YORK—Historically when school ends many families living in overcrowded apartments or other difficult situations apply for shelter, so the City today organized the distribution of information about homelessness prevention and anti-eviction legal services to parents bringing their children to schools in areas most at risk of homelessness. The Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Education (DOE) partnered to sponsor a Day of Action, during which elected officials and homeless services providers visited schools to provide resources to parents and caregivers as they drop off their kids. The goal is to prevent family homelessness whenever possible.
“Homelessness prevention is key in the Administration’s plans to reduce homelessness throughout New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio. “We are increasing our investment in programs with proven success- like Homebase- where we’ve nearly doubled city investment from $22 to $42 million.”
“We are working aggressively to help keep New Yorkers in their homes and neighborhoods” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This initiative is one part of a larger overall effort to ensure we are doing all we can to stop the problem before it starts.”
"Schools must be anchors in their communities, and in close partnership with the Department of Social Services we are working tirelessly to ensure families in need can easily access resources available to them,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This program is one of our efforts to ensure families are aware of the critical services in place to help prevent homelessness and supports students in need."
The Days of Action are part of a larger coordinated prevention campaign, including nearly $1.2 million targeted outdoor, print, digital, and social media advertising. Trained specialists are engaging one-on-one with parents and family caregivers to inform them of the homelessness prevention services available to them in their community through the City’s Homebase program. The City will also make direct phone calls to 13,000 families identified as likely being unstably housed through a match of recent DOE and DSS data. The phone calls to the 13,000 families will raise awareness about Homebase services and will begin prior to the end of the school year and continue throughout the summer months.
New York City’s Homebase program is the most comprehensive and innovative homelessness prevention services network in the country, providing access to an array of services and financial assistance to help households on the brink of homelessness remain in their communities and out of shelter. Homebase offers customized assistance to families and individuals to create a personalized housing stability plan, offering a full array of services such as eviction prevention, short-term emergency funding, financial counseling, and assistance in obtaining employment and public benefits.
Homebase is provided at 23 locations around New York City. City residents can find the Homebase near them by calling 311 or on a map (http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dhs/downloads/pdf/homebase_map.pdf) on the DHS website.
"When it comes to preventing homelessness we need to be proactive,” said New York City Council Member Stephen Levin. “The individualized and targeted interventions undertaken by Homebase help families address the issues that would otherwise result in the loss of their homes."
New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, "I salute the cross department cooperation underway to keep people in their homes. Thanks to the Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Education, and Homebase for acting proactively with this Day of Action and the accompanying stepped up outreach. With these measures, we are on track towards a cost effective, wise, and above all, humane approach to tackling the challenge of neighbors facing a housing crisis. Combating displacement and marginalization of our neighbors serves to build communities with fewer families living in fear and more families living with the security they deserve. I am proud to support these efforts throughout our community."
“I congratulate the Homebase Homeless Prevention Network for your efforts in combating the problem of homeless families in New York City. Since 2014, along with the City’s Department of Homeless Services, Homebase has serviced over 100,000 persons many on the verge of homelessness,” said New York State Assemblymember Annette M. Robinson. “As a State Elected Official, I will continue to urge my colleagues in government to do all that we can to work with programs like Homebase and others until we eliminate homelessness in New York City.”
“CAMBA’s Homebase programs have a more than 98 percent success rate in helping vulnerable families and individuals remain in their homes,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA. “Summer is an especially difficult time for near-homeless families who are only one step away from the shelter, and we are joining with City leaders to let parents know that we have many tools to help you stay housed. Call 311, contact our office or look for our You Can Van – we are ready to help you.”