Homelessness on the Mind

Only one in ten residents thinks the Bloomberg administration is doing a good job of assisting homeless families and individuals. This statistic is among the findings of a new poll released by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness that examines New Yorkers’ views on homelessness. Overall, the news is not good for an administration whose policies on homelessness have run the gamut from controversial to ineffective to downright counter-productive.

The poll also examined the pervasiveness of housing instability by asking respondents if they were worried about becoming homeless. The results are startling. More than one in four New Yorkers is worried about becoming homeless. Among New York’s sub-populations, families with children are more worried about becoming homeless (37.9%) than households without children (22.3%), reflecting the realities of a shelter system that houses more families with children than single adults. Nearly half of Hispanic and one-third of black New Yorkers are worried about becoming homeless, along with 56% of unemployed New Yorkers.

These numbers reflect a reality outside of Wall Street’s gleaming towers, where homelessness has reached levels never seen beforeincome inequality is higher than ever, and regular New Yorkers are struggling to survive amidst high rents, high unemployment and low wages.

Interestingly, in addition to evaluating the City’s performance on homelessness, poll respondents were also asked if they were willing to aid their less fortunate neighbors. It turns out, they are. More than half of the City’s residents (54.6%) supported paying higher taxes to reduce homelessness, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

It’s time for the Bloomberg administration to start listening to the majority of New Yorkers who want real solutions to homelessness. And one of the easiest steps they can take is to immediately allow homeless families to access federal housing resources, including public housing and Section 8.

Learn more about this common sense solution here.