Report Issued As Mayor Miner Returns From a White House Summit on Ending Veterans Homelessness with First Lady Michelle Obama
Miner: Criminalizing Homelessness is Ineffective Policy and Morally Unjust
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mayor Stephanie A. Miner announced today that Syracuse was named to the “Hall of Fame” in a recent report from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. The report, entitled “Housing Not Handcuffs” details how states and municipalities from across the United States criminalize homelessness. Syracuse is highlighted among four municipalities including Indianapolis, Indiana; San Francisco, California; and Miami-Dade County, Florida for their work to provide innovative housing strategies and decriminalize homelessness.
“Homelessness is symptomatic of the larger challenges so many people face in seeking economic security. Treating the homeless and housing vulnerable as if they were criminals is and inefficient and ineffective public policy and morally unjust. We can do better as a society and I am proud that, in Syracuse, we have taken steps to address this,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “It has been important in my administration for our police department to partner with social service agencies and advocates to develop an interconnected network of providers to address the needs of our homeless. By doing this, we have built trusting relationships in our community between providers, law enforcement, and the homeless population.”
The “Housing, Not Handcuffs” report has studied data from over ten years from over 187 municipalities on the criminalization of homelessness.
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty works to prevent and end homelessness through legal strategies. Using the assistance of pro bono attorneys, the organization addresses the immediate and long-term needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.
The report was issued on the heels of Mayor Miner’s visit to Washington, DC where on Monday, November 14, she participated in a daylong summit led by First Lady Michelle Obama and organized by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. The event highlighted the work done as part of the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative to end veteran homelessness. Speakers, including the First Lady, Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, joined attendees from across the country to discuss progress and forthcoming challenges to ending veteran homelessness.
Mayor Miner added: “It was an honor to join the First Lady to announce our progress and share best practices with other cities moving forward. We were able to help our veterans receive the services they need and deserve after serving our country and I am proud to share our success with Mrs. Obama, mayors, governors and social service leaders from across the nation.”
Last year, the Mayor announced the City of Syracuse had reached “functional zero,” whereby any military veteran who is homeless can be identified and placed into housing within 45 days.