#JulyHomelessRights Month Wins Major Victory: A Pathway to Permanent Housing for Homeless New Yorkers!

NEW YORK, NY (07/30/2021) (readMedia)-- This morning, #JulyHomelessRights month activists achieved a major victory, with one of their key demands met. HRA announced that starting September 1, Intro 146 will be implemented, increasing the value of CityFHEPS vouchers to cover fair market rate. This will make thousands more apartments accessible to shelter residents.

??"Over a year ago, 283 men and I entered the Lucerne Hotel and a firestorm ensued on the Upper West Side. With support from the UWS Open Hearts Initiative we fought back and challenged the City to respect the rights of Unhoused New Yorkers. What we wanted was a seat at the table, a voice in the discussion, and hand in the decision making. One year later, in response to this City's relentless violation of the humanity of my homeless brothers and sisters, I and fellow advocate Maria Walles called for #JulyHomelessRights month. Today, we celebrate a huge victory. The City is now working toward an immediate implementation of Intro 146! We celebrate this victory with our impacted brothers and sisters and advocates who fought to make this a reality.

I've been homeless on and off since I was ten, a product of the foster care system since the age of two and discharged from that system and into the streets at the age 12 years old. Today, I'm finally housed. My goal is to see the same for the masses of people who remain unhoused including those sent back to those deadly congregate shelters, and the immediate implementation of Intro 146 gets us closer to that goal. There's much more work to do to ensure the rights of every Unhoused New Yorker are respected. But today, I'm celebrating. The fact that we are now in this place shows that we are no longer invisible, voiceless and choice-less," said Shams DaBaron aka Da Homeless Hero, formerly homeless activist and finalist for The David Prize.

"The CityFHEPS housing voucher increase is a huge victory for #JulyHomelessRights Month activists. While many will claim credit, this victory belongs to the homeless New Yorkers who fought for the bill and created 30 days of action to push for immediate implementation. They made this pathway to permanent housing for thousands of homeless New Yorkers happen, and they've saved lives by helping to keep shelter populations down while Covid cases are surging.

With the CityFHEPS voucher increase, that's one demand met. Now, we need to stop the transfers from hotel shelters to dangerous, overcrowded congregate sleeping spaces as New York loses ground in our COVID fight once more." said Corinne Low, co-founder of UWS Open Hearts.

The city's decision comes one day after nine homeless rights activists, including UWS Open Hearts co-founder Corinne Low, were arrested as part of a civil disobedience action at city hall to protest the city's treatment of homeless New Yorkers and demand the city stop the transfers, stop the sweeps, and implement Intro 146. Other actions this month focused on the implementation of Intro 146 have included a press conference with incoming city council members, questions on "Ask the Mayor," a march on Gracie Mansion, and a one-year anniversary press conference at the Lucerne hotel.