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City's Homeless Program To Pay Rent Of Some Families Leaving Shelters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans for the city's homeless program has one homeless advocate encouraged.

"It's certainly a sea change from (former Mayor Michael) Bloomberg's punitive approach toward homelessness," said Mary Brosnahan, the president of the Coalition for the Homeless.

Brosnahan said the city plans to pay the rent of some families leaving shelters.

As WCBS 880's Ginny Kosola reported, one part of the plan, costing $59 million, targets those who are long-time homeless; the other $80 million four-year program helps working families.

Homeless Program To Pay Rent Of Some Families Leaving Shelters

"The cornerstone seems to be prevention and there's no better way to end homelessness than give people the subsidy they need to stay in their apartments," Brosnahan said.

While the program is smaller than the city's scrapped advantage program, Brosnahan said it's more flexible, including employment support and other strategies.

"Some people who are working can get off the program in a year or less, others will need more help so that help can be extended," she said.

Brosnahan said the program will be tailored to individual circumstances, which she believes will help the program have a higher rate of success. She said the new plan will stop people from circling back into the system, which she says is currently happening and calls it "hideously expensive."

De Blasio's program is expected to help about 4,000 families. New York City's homelessness population now numbers about 54,000 people a night.

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