Population at City Homeless Shelters Hits Record High of 63,495, Study Shows

The average nightly population in city homeless shelters last December was 63,495 — a record high, the annual State of the Homeless Report from the Coalition for the Homeless found.

“It’s a huge amount of people,” Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless, said. “There’s only nine cities in the entire state that have populations greater than our shelter system.”

Today’s Listen: Podcast on Shelter Numbers, de Blasio’s Agenda, Cuomo’s Record

This week, Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier visited the Max & Murphy podcast with City Limits and Gotham Gazette for a wide-ranging conversation on the policies needed to effectively combat record homelessness:

“It’s ok to say [homelessness] is stabilized, but it’s important to remember that it’s stabilized basically at record levels. We now have over 63,000 people sleeping in shelters each night. To that point, I think the Mayor has implemented policies that have led to that stabilization, but has not implemented policies that have been bold enough to actually ‘turn the tide,’ as he has said that he’s wanted to do in his plan that they released last year. We’re basically stuck here at record levels, in unacceptable territory, with 63,000 people sleeping in shelters, and thousands more in other shelter systems and on the streets, so we really need bolder solutions that are really targeted at housing specifically for people in shelters.”

Some of the bold solutions Routhier discussed include increasing the number of Section 8 and public housing units available for homeless New Yorkers to leave shelters. She also reiterated the urgent need for Mayor de Blasio to set aside 30,000 units of his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan for homeless households – sign the petition.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Top Homeless Advocate on Shelter Numbers, De Blasio’s Agenda, Cuomo’s Record

New York’s homeless shelter numbers—a consistent source of alarm over the last five years—have shown some signs of stabilizing. The average number of families with children in the system has been lower in each of the past eight months than over the comparable period the previous year and the average number of adult families has leveled off so far in 2018.

But the number of single adults continues to climb steadily. And there are still an average of 2,000 more families with kids in the shelters now than were there during the first months of Mayor de Blasio’s tenure in 2014.

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