The Independent Budget Office (IBO) of New York City released a report Tuesday indicating that the city will need to go above and beyond Mayor Eric Adams planned increase in homeless shelter and rent subsidies funding to help the city’s homeless outreach programs.
The report released March 8 – which outlined that although the Adams administration added $99 million this fiscal year and another $83 million for next year to cover the cost of supporting homeless individuals – estimates that even more shelter funding will be needed in 2023.
In addition to direct funding to homeless shelters, more money is needed to aid in homeless outreach and homeless voucher programs. These additional funds are integral to protecting New Yorkers who have suffered from homelessness following the expiration of the eviction moratorium on Jan. 15.
The IBO predicts that NYC will need to funnel at least $200 million in funding and $260 million annually beginning in 2024. These funds will go to supporting homeless shelters, outreach and housing vouchers.
The COVID-19 pandemic placed thousands of New Yorkers at the risk of homelessness and Mayor Adams entered office at a time where homelessness, quality of life and public safety were enormous priorities to address in order to keep New Yorkers safe.
In 2021, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) spent $3 billion, triple the agency’s spending a decade ago when the number of households living in shelters was roughly two-thirds of what it was in 2021.
Also in 2021, DHS spent about $949 million in federal COVID-19 related funding, and a total of $542 million of federal funding spending is planned for this year. These funds come largely from The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
These agencies allocated funding to reimburse the city for hotel stays – which allowed those who were unable to quarantine to safely stay – and also allowed for increased street outreach which allowed many individuals sleeping on the streets to seek alternatives including shelter stays.
At the same time, costs for single adult shelters have risen to an average of $138 per person per day in 2021, 10% higher than the costs three years ago. Efforts by the Adams administration to move unsheltered or homeless individuals off streets and off the subways will likely put even more pressure on shelters, potentially leading to raise in costs.
Although the Adams Administration added funds to DHS in their Preliminary Budget, the IBO estimates that single adult shelter costs will be $61 million higher than the city budgeted for 2021, and $126 million higher beginning in 2024.
The IBO expects that the cost of total program spending will grow to at least $263 million annually by 2023, which is $114 million more than what is currently budgeted for each year. With the city predominantly bearing the brunt of the cost to support homeless individuals and households, the IBO believes that maintaining the current level of rental assistance through housing vouchers is a top priority for the Mayor and City Council.
amNew York is currently awaiting comment from Mayor Adams’s office regarding the IBO findings.