Gov. Hochul to Provide Teams of Social Workers to Tackle Homelessness in NY State
By Yehudit Garmaise
To provide shelter for 3 to 4,000 New Yorkers who are homeless on the streets, not even counting the tens of thousands more who live in shelters, Gov. Kathy Hochul explained that the state needs to use teamwork.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all New Yorkers have roofs over their heads and that they are safe,” said Gov. Hochul, who today, launched her plan to develop teams of social workers who will staff a state-funded program called, “Safe Options Support” (S.O.S).
The state-funded teams of trained professionals are going “to work hand-in-hand with NYC outreach teams,” said Gov. Hochul, who is creating "teams of trained professionals who will be embedded here, who will develop relationships, develop trust, and allow us to face the issue of chronic street homelessness with a plan.”
To start off, Gov. Hochul wants “to staff up an initial five batches of teams of eight to 10 medical professionals, social workers, and outreach people, who understand the very deep human needs that lead people to need more help than they are getting.
“We are going to give homeless people the support they need. Get them into shelters and, ultimately, into housing.
“As I said yesterday, I believe we can and will do better.”
Gov. Hochul called American homelessness, “truly a humanitarian crisis.”
“It is hard to walk by someone in needs of help on our city sidewalks when we are coming to subway stations, train stations, and just walking to work,” she said. “These are the New Yorkers for whom the system has failed, and failure is not an option for us in government.
“No New Yorker should ever have to experience life on the streets.”
Street homelessness, however, only accounts for a fraction of people who do not have homes, so “in conjunction with launching a hands-on strategic approach to help people on the streets,” Gov. Hochul wants homeless people "to have the option to go somewhere else that is safe and worthy of them.”
To that end, the governor is creating 100,000 new affordable housing units and 100,000 more supportive housing units that also provide services to people's unmet needs, such as for mental health, substance abuse treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans, runaways, formerly incarcerated people, and others with traumas in their pasts.
“They need our help,” said Gov. Hochul, who added “these types of facilities can welcome people home again, and say, ‘This is your new life.’
“It is beautiful how government can provide that to human beings. It is powerful, and it is what we must continue to do.”
Photo by: Flickr