The last time that Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, in 1986, it created a tax credit meant to encourage the private sector to invest in affordable housing. It has grown into a $9 billion-a-year social program that has funded the construction of some three million apartments for low-income residents.
But the Republican tax plan approved last month amounts to a vast cutback, making it much less likely that such construction will continue apace. Because the tax rate for corporations has been lowered, the value of the credits — which corporations get in return for their investments — is also lower.
More than 60,000 New Yorkers have no place to call home and the punishing cold weather can prove deadly for anyone sleeping on the streets.
“It’s extremely dangerous, you’re talking about people dealing with hypothermia, who are not prepared, but have to be outside,” said Juan De La Cruz, Program Director for Coalition for the Homeless.
Cruz and dozens of volunteers hit NYC streets Friday night giving out hot food, coats and sleeping bags to those in need.
Melvin Fields doesn’t have a place to call his own. But the 63-year-old does have the subway.
“You know what I’m saying, it’s safe from the cold, you know what I’m saying. It’s very cold out there now,” Fields said.
A deep freeze that’s sent Fields into the city’s transit system for shelter.
“I be in the streets sometime. And I go to work sometime, do little odd jobs and stuff like that. I stay on the train a couple of hours,” he said.