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Bill de Blasio unveils new homeless initiative

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the formation

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the formation of a Supportive Housing Task Force as he visits Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residences in Brooklyn on Jan. 12, 2016. The task force will help the city implement its plan to create 15,000 units of supportive housing. Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a new move to demonstrate his administration can manage the city’s homelessness crisis, announced Tuesday the creation of a supportive housing task force to help coordinate social service programs and job training needed for the transition from shelters to permanent housing.

De Blasio said he wanted Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to recognize that “we are committed to a solution and we are putting in more resources and coordination.”

Cuomo has signaled that he will unveil proposals for a stronger state role in tackling the problem during his State of the State address in Albany on Wednesday.

For months, Cuomo has criticized de Blasio’s efforts to manage the issue.

The Supportive Housing Task Force is made up of nonprofit agency leaders who work with the city to provide emergency shelters and drop-in centers, and to develop and manage affordable housing apartments for poor families and homeless individuals such as veterans.

The task force is part of the mayor’s $2.6 billion affordable housing program, which will provide 15,000 new apartments citywide in the next 15 years.

The mayor made his announcement at the Bishop Sullivan Residence, a Catholic Charities property that was renovated with 22 apartments now occupied by formerly homeless people in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn.

“The creation of 15,000 supportive apartments means giving 15,000 individuals the best possible opportunity to overcome deep challenges like mental illness, homelessness and substance misuse,” said de Blasio.

“It means thousands of people off the street, out of shelter, away from the revolving door of the criminal justice system and emergency rooms.”

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