New Settlement hosted a Thanksgiving giveaway outside their Jerome Avenue community center Nov. 17 in partnership with Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York Sen. Luis Sepulveda, Bronx borough president Vanessa Gibson, city council members Althea Stevens and Pierina Sanchez, and sponsors Ponce Bank and United Way.
Families walked away with more than just your run-of-the-mill pantry staples. There were whole chickens, leafy greens, and other fresh produce. Workers distributed 400 pre-packed boxes to community members as the No. 4 train rumbled overhead.
Sunny skies offered the small crowd some warmth against the bracing cold.
“Some people don’t have anything to eat or just need to stretch their dollar for their families,” said a woman who bundled up and joined the line. “They give you fresh produce, eggs — you know how expensive eggs are. They just help you along.”
Mayor Eric Adams is shaking up the city’s shelter system with a package of reforms he hopes will pave the way for families and single adults to access permanent housing — a goal he promised to make good on in the 90-page housing policy “blueprint” he released in June.
The mayor is expanding eligibility for CityFHEPS housing vouchers to support working people previously excluded from the program, loosening restrictions on the maximum rent CityFHEPS will support.
Other changes are aimed at streamlining the application process and reaching those most at risk of becoming homeless, such as tenants facing eviction in housing court.
CityFHEPS vouchers can now go to single adults working full time on minimum wage whose income previously deemed them ineligible if it nudged above 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Working families will also now be able to access vouchers with a part-time job of 14 hours a week. The number of work hours previously required to qualify was 30.
Adams is also launching a pilot program for unsheltered New Yorkers to enter supportive housing without first spending 90 days in a shelter. Volunteers of America Greater New York will undertake the trial run on 80 single adult clients, the mayor announced.
By offering a direct pathway to permanent supportive housing, the program stands to shift the city’s commitment to fulfilling New Yorkers’ right to shelter, and ultimately, permanent housing.