New York Has Record Numbers of Homeless People

Since 1979, when a homeless veteran of the Korean war successfully sued the city for failing to provide him with shelter, the city has had a legal duty to house those unable to afford a home. (New York’s state constitution says that “the aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions.”) In recent years the number of homeless people has grown. Whereas rents increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015, incomes rose by 5%. When Rudy Giuliani entered City Hall in 1994, 24,000 people lived in shelters. About 31,000 lived in them when Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2002. When Bill de Blasio entered City Hall in 2014, 51,500 did. The number of homeless people now in shelters is around 63,000.

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