Bobby Watts' Letter to the Editor published in the NYT

New York Times Letter to the Editor 

A Crisis of Homelessness


To the Editor:
The Sequester and the Homeless” (editorial, March 23) correctly portrayed as cruel the recent sequestration cuts for their “toll on crucial housing programs that are intended to shield the elderly, the disabled and impoverished families with children from homelessness.” In January, New York City’s homeless shelter census was 53,615, including 22,712 children — a record high. This is a crisis.

Modern-day homelessness began in the early 1980s largely because of a retreat from low-income housing. In constant dollars, the federal allocation for housing support for low- and moderate-income households was $77 billion; it was cut to $17 billion in 1982, and we’ve never again reached that affordable-housing investment level, with a result, you report, of only a fourth of families that qualify for federal rental assistance receiving it.

Ending homelessness is the right thing to do. It produces better health and societal outcomes. Over time, it saves tax dollars, too. We need to increase our federal support for affordable housing, not let it fall victim to mindless sequestration.

BOBBY WATTS
Executive Director
Care for the Homeless
New York, March 24, 2014

Click here for more on the Times' coverage of homelessness in NYC and our response in the past.

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