The New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare held an oversight hearing on unsheltered homelessness this week, asking for more information about Mayor Eric Adams’s policies for people that are unsheltered on public transportation or living in encampments in public spaces.

Brendan Cheney testified for the New York Housing Conference about the importance of housing as the solution to assisting people who are living unsheltered.

We agree with Mayor Eric Adams that it is inhumane to have people who are experiencing homelessness, especially those that are living unsheltered,” said Brendan Cheney in the testimony. “But the humane solution is to have housing ready and available for them. We’ve been disappointed that Mayor Adams hasn’t made housing a part of his plans to address unsheltered homelessness. Housing must be part of the solution.

The housing first model, which prioritizes providing housing to end someone’s homelessness experience, has been proven to work nationwide but New York City has been unable to implement it. For people living unsheltered, this would mean moving them straight into housing. Some providers are making it work. New Destiny Housing has a rapid rehousing program for victims of domestic violence. We should replicate these models, and provide enough permanent housing, citywide.

Read the full testimony here.