Advocates demand City Hall pony up more money to end homelessness
Added 10-18-19 07:13:02pm EST - “Jawanza James Williams, a housing rights activist with Vocal NY, pointed to the expected $9 billion price tag on closing Rikers and said that kind of money needs to be put toward ending homelessness -- or else people will continue…” - Nydailynews.com
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More than a hundred advocates for the homeless visited City Hall on Friday to warn that the city’s jail reform plan will fail unless the city improves its treatment of those without permanent shelter.
Jawanza James Williams, a housing rights activist with Vocal NY, said the $9 billion plan to replace Rikers Island with new jails — approved by the City Council on Thursday — would fail unless the city does something to keep people from cycling between the justice system and living on the street.
“The era of mass incarceration can never end if we do not end homelessness,” Williams said. “Homelessness is the result of the mayor not prioritizing the most vulnerable people in our city.”
Their protest, which was joined by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin, comes two weeks after the brutal murder of four homeless men in Chinatown and as Mayor de Blasio has vowed to do more for New Yorkers without shelter.
The advocates argue de Blasio has not done enough and that closing Rikers without addressing the city’s homelessness crisis will lead to homeless people committing crimes and ending up warehoused behind bars. The plan to close Rikers, they say, cannot fully be implemented unless homelessness is tackled head-on.
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