NEW YORK, NY — The following statement from the Coalition for the Homeless is in response to the yearly report compiled by DHS, HRA, DOHMH, and OCME, which includes the number of deaths that occurred among people experiencing homelessness in fiscal year 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on homeless New Yorkers and laid bare the dangers of subsisting without a home of one’s own. Heartbreakingly, the total number of New Yorkers who died homeless nearly tripled in just five years. The number of people who actually died due to the pandemic is undoubtedly greater than the official count of COVID-19 related deaths. This is underscored by the fact that the number of reported deaths due to causes other than COVID-19 also reached a record high in fiscal year 2020. We renew our plea: All homeless individuals should be offered a single-occupancy hotel room for the duration of the pandemic so that they can protect themselves from the increasingly infectious strains of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Moreover, the City, State, and Federal governments must recognize that housing is health care and provide the funding needed to reverse this devastating toll. As this evidence so starkly shows, lives are at stake,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director of the Coalition for the Homeless.