Homeless advocates, nonprofit housing developers and other stakeholders unveil a new housing proposal to help transition away from the controversial “cluster site” shelter program.

The proposal is aimed to complement Mayor Bill de Blasio administration’s “Housing New York” 10-year plan by providing a concrete road map to several key pieces of the plan. Gaining Ground advocates have been meeting with officials in multiple agencies and Deputy Mayor’s offices to map out a timeline for implementation.

“It’s time to build housing up – permanent housing,” said a spokesperson for Picture the Homeless. “That’s what makes people and communities stronger. That’s what builds power and self esteem. We need housing first. We need Gaining Ground.”

Harry DeRienzo of Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association said the community development sector has the experience and the desire to make Gaining Ground a reality.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the City to end the wasteful and counter-productive Cluster Site Shelter Program and to make community land trusts a preferred model for redevelopment in order to better ensure affordability and prevent displacement of our lowest income neighbors,” he said.

According to Council Member Fernando Cabrera, residents of extremely low income currently make up over one-fifth of the population of the city, and nearly the entire population of the DHS shelter system. He said the Gaining Ground Pilot Project “seeks to ensure affordability for these residents by building a replicable model through which the city could effectively create and preserve thousands of units of housing by re-investing shelter resources on a wider scale.”