Assemblyman Hevesi, in his capacity as Chair of the Oversight, Analysis and Investigations Committee, co-hosted a public hearing last week with Assemblywoman Michele Titus, Chair of the Social Services Committee, to further understand the effect of the 2014-2015 State Budget on homeless programs throughout New York State. Homelessness is at a critical mass, with the number of homeless adults and children at record levels in New York City. The Assembly Members discussed with stakeholders how local social services districts are combating this crisis, specifically examining how several programs have been funded and are managed.
Several core programs such as the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), and the Operation Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH) were reviewed. Testimony was received from numerous providers, advocates, and agencies, including several Deputy Commissioner’s from the New York City Department of Homeless Services (NYCDHS), and the Commissioner of the Office of Temporarily and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Questions by the legislators to the panel varied from understanding the objectives of homeless services programs in New York State, to administrative and fiscal barriers that the providers encounter. The hearing highlighted multiple avenues the state can take to address the homeless crisis, and the information provided will play a crucial role as the legislature heads into the 2015 legislative session.
“After listening to some of the obstacles that our strongest advocates and leaders in homeless services face, it is absolutely crucial that we take the information obtained in this hearing and amend our strategy to address the growing needs of homeless stricken individuals. Working with providers, agencies, and my colleagues in the state legislature, I will continue to address this critical issue,” Hevesi said.