New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes calls from listeners and discusses this week in NYC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has had some success in trying to curb a homelessness crisis that has exploded under his watch, but the number of single adults in shelter continues to reach record highs almost every month.
More than half a dozen providers and advocates surveyed by POLITICO pointed to some factors outside the city’s control, including a harsh real estate market for low-income renters, stagnating wage growth, and a population with greater needs as a cause for the spike.
But they also cited factors that the city and the state could affect, including a housing plan that isn’t focused enough on homeless people, insufficient supportive housing, and a failure to adequately plan for people leaving prisons and jails.
“Given what is happening in the housing market, with displacement, conversion of low income housing, limited development of low income housing, we shouldn’t be surprised that we have more people in shelter, because we need it,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, CEO and President of BRC, a homeless services provider. “Shelters aren’t bad, shelters are places people can go and have a right to go to.”
There were 15,302 single adults in shelter in July, 53 percent more than there were just before de Blasio took office and close to an all-time high. Single adults are a relatively small part of the shelter system, representing 28 percent of people in the city’s shelters while families make up the remaining 72 percent, but they look to be the city’s bigger challenge.
New York City has increased spending on housing homeless people in shelters in recent years, but the population continues to hover at more than 60,000 despite efforts to move many into permanent housing, a new city report shows.
During the 2017 fiscal year, the city spent an average of $99 a day to house single adults in facilities in New York City, according to a management report released Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. In fiscal year 2018, that number grew to $117 a day.
The increased cost reflects a larger investment in service providers, repairs and security at shelters, according to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services.
The cost of housing homeless families was also more expensive in fiscal year 2018, when more than 22,340 children were living in shelters. During that time, the cost to house families with children averaged $192 a day, up from $171 in fiscal year 2017. In fiscal year 2014, it cost the city an average of $102 each day to house shelter families with children.
Meanwhile, the cost to house adult families rose in fiscal year 2018 to $147 each day, compared with $138 a day during the same period a year earlier, according to the report.