Friday, August 10, 2012 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

No End in Sight: New Data Shows NYC Homeless Population Still on the Rise

Newly-released data show that New York City’s homeless shelter population has soared to new record highs: More than 44,400 people per night including 18,000 kids. And Mayor Bloomberg’s only response is to open more costly shelters.

City data show that, in June, the average number of homeless New Yorkers bedding down in the municipal shelter system hit a new record high of 44,402 people, with a record 10,658 families and 17,986 children. Charts and tables breaking down these alarming stats can be found here.

Over the past year, the total homeless shelter population has risen by 15.4 percent, while the number of homeless kids is up by 18.1 percent. To make matters worse, as we noted in a recent blog post, there are strong indications that the seasonal surge in homeless families seeking shelter has continued since June. And just as alarming, the number of homeless single adults in municipal shelters – which typically declines in the summer months – has actually risen despite warmer temperatures.

All in all, New York City’s historic homeless crisis is getting worse by the day. And what is the Bloomberg administration’s response? Well, as we’ve been saying for awhile now, so far Mayor Bloomberg has NOT signed on to the proven plan of using Federal housing resources to reduce the number of homeless kids and adults crowding shelters – a plan supported by the New York City Council, academic experts, budget analysts, advocates, and service providers.

Instead, the administration is opening more costly shelters. Recent news reports have detailed a City plan to utilize two Manhattan buildings, which were once permanent low-income housing, as expensive temporary shelter for some 200 homeless families – at an astounding cost of around $3,300/month per family. The City also has plans to open two additional shelters in Brooklyn with a total of 400 beds for homeless adults. And at the current rate of growth in NYC homeless population, there will surely be more to come.

Of course, Mayor Bloomberg could choose a different course. The NYC Independent Budget Office found that the City Council plan to use Federal housing resources would not only save millions in taxpayer dollars – it would also reduce the number of homeless families, avoiding the need to create costly new shelters. Let’s see which path Mayor Bloomberg chooses.

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