DHS aims to shut down cluster housing by 2021

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

The Department of Homeless Services says it plans to eliminate the controversial cluster housing system by 2021.

"We're opening a smaller number of high-quality, borough-based shelters," said DHS Commissioner Steven Banks. "People can remain close to their job, closer to children's schools, closer to health care."

Cluster housing places homeless people in privately owned apartments. The program has faced opposition for years. Criticism intensified after a radiator accident in a Hunts Point cluster last year killed two toddlers.

Brooklyn is home to the second-most cluster sites out of the five boroughs, behind the Bronx. About 11,000 of the city's homeless people live in cluster sites.

Lisa Milhouse, who left her Brooklyn home with her two children after escaping a violent relationship, says she was placed in a cluster site that she remembers as "one of the worst places on Earth."

A cabinet there broke loose from the wall and almost landed on her 4-year-old, she says.

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