A picture of a homeless man
Derek D/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State spent the early part of January making several promises to the homeless community, in light of the plummeting temperatures and skyrocketing housing prices.

On January 3, Cuomo issued an executive order that all people on the streets must be escorted indoors when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. He requires that police forces collaborate with local social services to ensure that the maximum amount of people are being moved to sheltered facilities during freezing weather. The order was implemented on January 5.

Some New York State officials were publicly against the order due to the requirement that all people will be forced inside, even against their will. Local officials voiced concerns that homeless people would distrust service groups as a result of being forced inside. However, Cuomo decreed that it is necessary to move people without consent, as the cold temperatures can pose a physical risk.

Furthermore, Cuomo allocated $20 billion to support the homeless when he gave his State of the State address on January 13. He plans on using $10 billion towards expanding homeless services, such as increasing the number of beds in shelters. The other $10 billion will be used to create and preserve 100,000 affordable housing units over five years.

However, the plan was stifled by the expiration of the 421a tax break for housing developers. The tax break allowed affordable housing to be built for lower costs. With the collapse of the break, Governor Cuomo anticipates minimal short term effects on his housing plan. He acknowledges that he will need to coordinate a system in the future if he would like affordable housing to be built continuously long term.