Homelessness on the Rise
There are as many reasons for homelessness as there are people who are homeless. The number of homeless people in New York City shelters has exceeded 60,000 people (115% increase over the past two decades) with nearly 3,000 people actually living on the streets. These figures don’t even take into account the tens of thousands of people who are on the verge of homelessness or have lost their place to live only to find themselves sleeping on the sofas of friends and family.
Local government mistakenly assumed the homeless crisis would be a temporary problem only to discover it’s gotten worse with no real plan in the works to eradicate homelessness completely once and for all.
Zero Percent Homeless Initiative
The Zero Percent Homeless Initiative offers incentives for local developers participation in gentrification measures to empower communities the ability to live and shop in their own neighborhoods with homeless prevention measures built-in including new leaseholder rights to provide landlords and tenants more flexibility. The program also includes a We-Shelter program to provide temporary housing for every homeless person in New York including people between jobs or apartments. Full time shelters available for homeless people who need on-going support.
The Plight of Gentrification
With gentrification spreading like wildfire across the five boroughs it’s no wonder these numbers are increasing especially after enduring the worst recession in U.S. history. Historically, families, friends, and neighbors live in the exact same neighborhood where they grew up. Communities like this (particular in poorer neighborhoods) look out for one another helping with babysitting, eldercare, dog walking, shopping, housecleaning, repairs, and pretty much anything that needs to be done for free or on the cheap.
Sadly, as the price of rent, food, utilities and other costs of living quickly rise in gentrified neighborhoods the wages and benefits of native residents remain virtually the same giving them less and less buying power causing people to find cheaper housing elsewhere or possibly facing homelessness when no other options are available to them. As this intricate network of friends, family, and neighbors disperses so does the free and cheaper services and help their community once provided.
The Struggle is Real
Seeking independent housing with “very poor” credit, without a job paying 40x the rent, or a guarantor to co-sign a new lease who makes at least 60x the rent makes it nearly impossible to acquire a lease. Tragically, with no place to go, many people end up on the streets and if anything happens to their I.D.’s or ability to maintain phone service they quickly find themselves on a friend's sofa or stuck in a desperate situation of which there is little chance of recovery.
Even with benefits including a housing allowance, many New Yorkers are forced to wait several months before housing becomes available and even then some scattered shelters require the tenant to have good credit. Other shelters require applicants to have already lost their residence before they can apply so planning for an eviction or a move is not possible under these circumstances.
Couples and roommates desperately wanting to escape a dysfunctional living arrangement often find themselves stuck living together in a sometimes hostile situation because neither one has the credit score, the income, or a guarantor to make a move possible. The consequences can have negative impact on their overall happiness, health, and ability to manage stress. Children trapped in environments like this can suffer anxiety and depression.
NYC Time Bank as Gentrification Relief
NYC Time Bank focusses on areas where gentrification is threatening to displace the local communities by empowering locals to create new businesses that create jobs for their neighborhoods, super affordable home ownership opportunities, and wholesale grocery costs for people on benefits and low wage earners.
NYC Time Bank also provides job developing and entrepreneur programs to offer locals the tools they need to start a new business or prepare for a new job or position. The NYC Time Bank will also provide a new NYC Credit Score used by the NYC Time Bank for personal and commercial loans and by participating residential and commercial landlords eager to fill their empty storefronts and vacant apartments.
NYC Time Dollars are tax-exempt so they won't affect a person’s benefits or the amount they receive and nor will it place a taxpayer in a higher tax bracket. Every person who opens an account with NYC Time Banks will be given two NYC Time Dollars with more available upon completion of orientation and providing service to other members within the vast network of service providers across greater New York City area. There are also plenty of entrepreneur programs that provide community benefit that pays NYC Time Dollars while neighbors learn and provide community service.
These NYC Time Dollars can be used to get childcare, eldercare, accounting, website design, legal consults, design, haircuts and spa services, weight training, snow shoveling, tutoring, or even help producing a special event like a wedding, anniversary, birthday, bar/bat mitzvah, or business launch party.
NYC Time Bank also manages an organic food bank managing a network of urban vertical farms and rural farms to sell whole foods and home store brands at wholesale cost for people on benefits and NYC Time Bank members.
NYC Time Dollars allows low wage earners the ability to save or earn money on services they're already providing using while leaving more of their actual paycheck to cover the rising cost of rent and utilities making it possible to live and shop in their own neighborhoods.
Reassign the 7 year $126,394,917 contract for issuing benefit cards for the entire state to the NYC Time Bank where the profits from administering this service will be used to invest in city and state local business and provide affordable housing programs. That's over $126 million dollars that should be going to pay for local salaries, finance new local businesses, make available low income home, personal, and business loans for local members. Used properly, that $126 million can help to create the local economic boom that will get tourists coming to empty their wallets in our city having he time of their lives thanks to the new businesses and people that we invest in.
The NYC Time Bank Card houses a members own bank or credit union checking and savings account but that's optional. Each card has an account for NYC Time Dollars and a Store Credit Account which means members can trade store credit card values with other members for another store credit for no fee. Members can cash out value of store credit cards for a slight fee.
The NYC Time Bank will also offer hundreds of No Fee ATM's across the the five boroughs. No fees for any accounts from a New York City bank although there will be premium ATM fees for out of town accounts to pay for upgrades and service.
The NYC Time Bank will host a design exhibition of local artists to create a printed NYC Time Dollar Currency showcasing local architecture, landscapes, cityscapes, native animals, people from our multi-cultural community, etc.
AirBnB as Homelessness Prevention
New York City residents will have the right to use marketplace and hospitality service providers such as AirBnB to enable New Yorkers to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. These providers will be responsible for collecting a special tax from renters that will be go towards a special fund earmarked for homelessness prevention.
Establishing the right to sublet your apartment for short-term stays is also a lifesaver for the elderly who are on fixed incomes and cannot afford the increase in rents and nor do they have the ability to pay for a move when they eventually get priced out of their home. The same goes for artists, musicians, students, and entrepreneurs who are unable to launch a new business or pursue a career in the arts if they need to take on a full-time job simply to afford the skyrocketing rents and higher grocery bills due to neighborhood gentrification. Without the artists, musicians, and aspiring new business owners New York City loses the character and the flavor that makes our city so great.
NYC Time Bank will immediately begin construction of the proposed Popup Rescue facility, comprised of a series of large scale architectural tents near the waterways apart from residential and commercial neighborhoods throughout the greater New York City area. You've seen these kinds of temporary mobile structures before during Fashion Week and around the ice skating rink at Bryant Park during winter months.
Popup Rescue facilities will include showers, lockers and storage, laundry service, beds with kennel service for homeless guests with pets, a cafe serving healthy organic meals three times a day, and an onsite clinic with medical, dental, counseling, and pharmaceutical services available for those in need. In addition to these amenities there will also be an entrepreneur and job developing center to help guests of Popup Rescue to ready themselves for employment, start a new business, and get into affordable permanent housing. Popup Rescue will also include a business center comprised of a mailing/shipping center, computers, phones, desks, and conference room for those guests entered into the program. The Upcycle shop and Social Canteen (shop and cafe) and entrepreneur centers are also available to New Yorkers on benefits and members of the NYC Time Bank.
People who are not homeless but are on benefits have full access Popup Rescue to help local entrepreneurs develop their business idea and develop strategies to make their business idea a success. Job developing programs are also available for those who prefer to work for others. People making under $45k/yr who are not homeless and are not on benefits can have access to Popup Rescue Entrepreneur Centers as well.
Popup Rescue is designed to accommodate every homeless person, emergency relief evacuee, and New Yorkers caught between places on demand and can sign-up for a space BEFORE they become homeless. Unfortunately, currently it can take months or even a year or longer until a shelter becomes available which is completely unacceptable.
I will be among one of the residence of a Popup Rescue facility as Gracie Mansion will be turned into a luxury showhouse benefiting the NYC Ivy League University and Learning Hospital/Mobile Clinics. I will Airbnb Gracie Mansion for $1M/night generating a potential of $1.46 billion over my first four years as mayor of New York City.
Zero Percent Homeless
Nobody should have to sleep on the streets if they don't want to. So, we need to do everything we can to empower our community with the ability for everyone who works to afford the increasing cost of living without being forced from their neighborhoods or because of rising rents or the current short-term lease ban. We also need to provide incentives for investors, developers, property owners, and entrepreneurs to build affordable homes for sale and rent to veterans, middle class, and low wage earners.