New York City homeless plan would seize buildings via eminent domain

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new plan Tuesday aimed at easing the homeless crisis in New York City.

The proposal would convert city-funded apartments currently used to shelter homeless families into affordable permanent housing.

The goal is to create 1,100 units by 2021.

Since 2000, the city has paid landlords to house families in privately owned buildings known as "cluster sites." Under the new plan, the city would buy the buildings, which would then be rehabilitated and operated by non-profit groups.

De Blasio said 25 to 30 buildings, most of them in the Bronx, will be acquired through eminent domain if landlords refuse to sell. The mayor said the city is "on solid legal ground," adding, "the effort is a clear sign that we will go to any length necessary to help our neighbors get back on their feet."

Landlord groups immediately criticized the proposal.

"This plan is riddled with flaws, and implementing it would create a housing catastrophe," Rent Stabilization Association President Joseph Strasburg said. "Affordability and homelessness are as infinite as space because of government meddling."

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