Today’s Read: What’s Behind the Rise in City Homeless Shelter Numbers?

The de Blasio administration continues to grapple with near-record homelessness and the legacy of a 90 percent rise in the shelter census after the Bloomberg administration eliminated permanent housing options for homeless New Yorkers. Although de Blasio’s reinstatement of housing assistance has caused the census to level off somewhat, it might take time to see a significant decrease. As City Limits reported:

According to Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless, the administration’s policy of giving shelter residents priority for public housing has made a difference for homeless families with children. A greater share of homeless single adults and adult families, however, face mental health challenges and will stand to benefit when the administration follows through with its plan to build supportive housing.

The Coalition continues to advocate for proven, housing-based solutions to homelessness. The City has taken key steps toward stemming the tide – substantially increasing homelessness prevention and reinstating permanent affordable housing options for homeless families – but more must be done to alleviate the suffering of our homeless neighbors. Importantly, the City cannot bear the full burden alone. The scale of the crisis demands a robust, collaborative effort by both the City and the State, including the realization of new units of State-funded supportive housing this year.

In a High-Rent World, Affordable and Safe Housing is Hard to Come By

LaToya Fowlkes is standing outside rent court in Baltimore. A judge has just ruled that Fowlkes has to pay her landlord $4,900 in rent and fees despite her complaints that the house has leaky water pipes, chipped paint, rodents and a huge hole in the living room wall.

But Fowlkes didn’t notify her landlord of the problems by certified mail — something the judge said she should have done to avoid eviction.

What’s Behind the Rise in City Homeless Shelter Numbers?

After Bill de Blasio’s first year in office, City Limits took a look at the state of the city’s homelessness epidemic. Though de Blasio had been elected on promises to reverse the unabated rise in homelessness, by the end of his first year, the shelter count had shot up from 53,000 to 59,000 individuals. Many advocates, however, encouraged by a number of reforms set in motion by the mayor, appeared patient for the trend to reverse—even as some called for more and swifter action.

A look at year two is not so rosy as the administration would like, though not as incriminating as critics would have it. Homelessness declined to about 55,700 by July 2015, falsely raising hopes of a successful turnaround, then rose again to over 58,400 by January 2016. As of Monday, it had dipped down to 57,830. Some argue that the rate is steadying, though not everyone is so hopeful.

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