Forced income saving will hurt NYC’s homeless

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Feba George | The Ticker

Angelica Tejada

The New York City Department of Homeless Services has proposed the Income Savings Plan, targeting the homeless individuals that reside in the DHS shelters. 

The motive behind this plan is to help these individuals “exit DHS shelters by budgeting for and developing savings,” according to The New York City Rules website

Out of all the income that the homeless person makes, the plan will require them to save 30% of it into a savings account. 

The money being deposited by the individuals will be managed by the New York City Department of Social Services. The Income Savings Plan has been set to “first apply to single adults with earned income…and will begin applying to families in 2020,” stated Curbed NY. 

Everything has its pros and cons, leading the Income Savings Plan to be not as picture-perfect as it is set to be. The plans outline indicates that by having the homeless person save a portion of their income, it will help them once they leave the DHS shelter. 

Each homeless individual whose savings is put into an account cannot have access to these savings until they have left the DHS shelter. 

By not allowing them to get a hold of their savings, it leads to them not having the ability to use that money in case of an emergency. 

These individuals are vulnerable and do not live comfortably enough to have the ability to cover any extra costs that arise unexpectedly. 

Additionally, if the homeless individual does not deposit the certain percent of their savings, they will face consequences. The individual would be “at a risk of noncompliance and could lose their shelter services,” as reported by City Limits

In the cases in which the homeless individual cannot deposit the amount mandated by the DHS to save, it affects their state of living harshly. 

Losing the ability to stay at a shelter actually backtracks the initiative to help the homeless in New York City. The Department of Homeless Services states that “58,980 total people…spent the night in a shelter,” reported New York Daily News. 

When one considers the conditions and responsibilities that homeless individuals have to survive in, money is not the number one priority. More important is being able to access food and shelter. 

These basic necessities are needed to live a healthy life and to be safe, especially during the cold winter nights that are approaching. 

Unfortunately, in New York City the cost of both food and shelter seems to increase on a day to day basis. The more expensive it becomes to live in New York City, the less possible it seems for these homeless individuals to be able to leave the shelters and live in homes where they have to pay rent and other expenses. 

A plan that can benefit these homeless individuals would be to place the focus onto making life outside of the shelter more affordable.