“We live in one of the richest states in the richest country in the world. But when you arrive at Union Station, you wouldn’t know that. As a man of deep faith, I firmly believe we need to lead with profound compassion in the Mayor’s Office. Let’s unite this City by lifting everyone up, no matter the size of their wallet, their background, or their housing status, for a better New Haven."
A Better Plan For Our Homeless
Create the Mayor’s Office for Homeless Initiatives (MOHI)
- As Mayor, Shafiq will create the Mayor’s Office for Homeless Initiatives (MOHI) to respond directly to the City’s homeless response. This would be a direct line between the Mayor’s Office, Community Services Administration (CSA): Health Department & Homeless Services, Elm City Communities, Board of Alders, and state, federal, and community partners and organizations to bundle services and coordinate tasks all united to tackle and end homelessness. MOHI will spearhead all initiatives and partnerships on behalf of the City with a critical focus on permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.
- MOHI is committed to Housing First. The Housing First framework, to address an individual’s needs, such as housing, food, and water, coupled with streamlined coordination of services and programming, has been proven to reduce the rates of homelessness in urban areas. In areas where funds were allocated to short-term facilities and services, the rates of homelessness grew greater.
Establish a Homelessness Response Center
- While forging a deeper relationship with state, local, and federal partners, Shafiq will establish the City’s Homelessness Response Center. This facility, the Center, will serve as a one-stop-shop for homeless individuals and youth to receive a connection to services and will serve as the forward-facing office for the newly established MOHI, with the overall goal of assisting clients in planning for the long term.
- A focus on the whole self. At the Center, case managers will work with new and existing clients to create a game plan and get back on their feet. The Center will be the site of existing and new programming from MOHI and local partners, including financial literacy education, ESL classes, job skills training, resume building, tax preparation, and home care.
- Shafiq will build up emergency non-congregate shelters to address those most immediately affected by the current homelessness crisis. This includes a focus on temporary shelters for specific families and women with children. Far too often, many mothers and families don’t choose to stay are particular temporary shelters because of these stipulations. The Center will serve as the first refocused family-oriented non-congregate shelter.
A Job to Stay
- Shafiq knows first-hand the challenges many homeless residents face when looking for work. In operating his multimillion-dollar business, Eco Urban Pioneers, he regularly gave homeless individuals an opportunity by hiring them. As Mayor, he will spearhead filling entry-level jobs with those qualified individuals that are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.
- By transforming individuals experiencing homelessness into full-fledged residents with permanent addresses coupled with jobs with basic benefits, the community can start to build back the bridges that caused the divide in how we approach homelessness in New Haven. This strategy has been working in other Cities facing increased homelessness in the country.
A Place to Grow
- New Haven is only 19 square miles, which means space is limited, so leaders must get creative to create housing for the homeless. As Mayor, Shafiq will work with federal, state, and local partners to identify new property and unused City properties to create a tiered housing structure focusing on alternative housing options. This will focus on transformational housing options like tiny homes, micro-housing, and micro-workforce housing.
- Within these investments in long-term non-congregate housing, there will be a commitment to single-use occupancy housing and housing for those with families and other assets. Further, qualified residents will be given a track to attaining job openings in the city and with local partners. For outdoor dwelling spaces, Shafiq will emulate the structure and successes of Safe Outdoor Spaces partnership with the Colorado Village Collaborative and the City of Denver.