By GREGORY N. HEIRES
An innovative new city program backed by the union will help the homeless to leave their shelters to live with a host family.
The city will run the program through its Pathways to Housing service, which addresses homelessness by combining housing with treatment for mental and physical health, substance abuse, education and employment.
The new Pathway Home Program will encourage homeless individuals and families to live with friends or family members (host families).
Host families will receive $1,200 to $1,800 a month in compensation, depending on their household size.
In October, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Commissioner Steven Banks of the Dept. of Social Services sent a joint letter to the union’s members about the Pathway Home Program.
The union is partnering with the city to alert members who might be interested in serving as a host family. The union also encourages homeless DC 37 members to consider this alternative to living in a shelter.
“The inability to afford a home of one’s own is a tragedy that we as New Yorkers can work together to address in order to help our family members and friends, including our coworkers, get back on their feet,” Garrido and Banks said in the letter.
To participate in the program, homeless individuals and families must have been in the shelter system for 90 days. They are also eligible if they are living in a shelter and have a CITYFEPS referral letter—regardless of the time they have spent in the shelter. CITYFEPS provides rent supplement to families who are at risk of becoming homeless or are residing in a shelter.
Members interested in serving as host families should contact Doreen Howe, the associate commissioner of transitional family services at the Dept. of Homeless Services at 212-361-6816.
The city set up this program as the challenge of helping the homeless grows. Homelessness in the city increased 115 percent—from 24,000 to 51,000 people—between 1994 and 2014. Between 2011 and 2014 the homeless population grew by 14,000 after the city and state eliminated a rental assistance program.
To learn more about the program and how to apply, click on the links below.