Advocates contest report on homeless shelters’ impact on property values

Diagonal view of buildings in SoHo
Diagonal view of buildings in SoHo

Advocates contest report on homeless shelters’ impact on property values

And other updates from across New York.
September 25, 2019

A new report shows the effect homeless shelters have on property values in Manhattan – but homeless advocates contest its validity. Research from the New York City Independent Budget Office is showing that homes closer to shelters in the borough sold for about 7% less than similar residences slightly farther away. Those located near multiple shelters saw an even steeper dip of 17%.

But advocates and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office have criticized the report’s methodology and use of limited data – for example, IBO acknowledges that it lacked data on when shelters opened. The Coalition for the Homeless, WIN And Homeless Services United rallied for the report’s retraction.

“Stoking NIMBYism with a fatally flawed report that casts shelters as a blight rather than a public good (and indeed a legal requirement) only serves to further stigmatize and discriminate against the victims of our city's affordable housing crisis,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, in a statement.

The IBO report cited a 2008 paper from New York University’s Furman Center For Real Estate & Urban Policy finding that supportive housing had no negative effect on housing prices. In reply, the Furman Center posted a Twitter thread highlighting the key differences between their methodology, also noting that “without access to data on when shelters actually opened, it is difficult if not impossible to establish causality.”


The New York City Department for the Aging had a busy day of contract announcements. A number of contracts were extended for organizations in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn for senior center services:

  • The Spanish Speaking Elderly Council - RAICES Inc. for a $668,241 contract, a $726,902 contract and a $665,160 contract
  • The National Council of Young Israel for a $623,588 contract and a $630,359 contract
  • Hope of Israel Senior Center for an $848,073 contract
  • Sunnyside Community Services for a $1.7 million contract
  • BronxWorks for a $745,571 contract and a $521,637 contract
  • Bedford Park Multi-Service Center for Senior Citizens for an $881,703 contract
  • Commonpoint Queens for a $821,325 contract
  • The Jewish Association for Services for the Aged for a $575,913 contract, a $489,938 contract, an $842,779 contract and a $756,191 contract
  • New York Foundation for Senior Citizens for an $883,903 contract
  • Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities for a $630,344 contract

The city Administration for Children’s Services awarded a $1.1 million contract to the New York State Industries for the Disabled for janitorial services.


Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation is giving $1.2 million in funding to organizations addressing housing, food insecurity, and medical needs. The grants may reach up to $25,000 for each eligible nonprofits. Downstate organizations need not apply, as the funding only applies to areas serviced by Dominion Energy. Interested nonprofits in Albany, Oneida, and Cortland (among other cities) should apply by Oct. 21. 


The Legal Aid Society is joining New York Attorney General Letitia James in filing lawsuits surrounding Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests in courthouses. The nonprofit, alongside Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, filed a lawsuit seeking a permanent stop to ICE’s enforcement in courthouses on behalf of a domestic violence survivor. Its other plaintiffs include Make the Road New York, Urban Justice Center and the New York Immigration Coalition.

Meanwhile, James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez filed a separate suit arguing the practice has a negative effect on public safety.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.