A new report gives the city and state of New York an “F” grade for how they are handling the homeless crisis as the numbers of people living in the streets continues to reach record numbers.
More single adults than ever before are sleeping in shelters in New York, while the number of homeless families is also near January’s all-time high of 63,839 men, women and children sleeping in shelters, according to a new report from the Coalition for the Homeless. That number does not even include homeless people who shun the shelter system, sleeping on the streets, on trains, or in abandoned buildings or other makeshift dwellings, meaning the real number is likely much higher.
The Coalition for the Homeless issued its State of the Homeless 2019 report that found that in February 2019, an average of 63,615 men, women, and children slept in New York City shelters each night, just shy of the all-time record set in January.
An all-time record 18,212 single adults slept in shelters each night in February 2019, up 150 percent from 2009. Between September 2018 and April 2019, the number of single adults in DHS shelters reached a new nightly record high 32 times, according to the report.
Nightly shelter populations broke city records 32 times in the past six months, according to the report – a shocking statistic even when viewed in the context of a record 133,284 individuals spending at least one night in a shelter in 2018. The number of homeless in New York has been steadily climbing since the crash of 2008, and the shelter population has effectively doubled since then.
The report card gives Mayor de Blasio a failing grade on his efforts to create sufficient housing for homeless New Yorkers and Governor Cuomo multiple failing grades on housing vouchers, homelessness prevention, and systematic cost-shifting practices that unduly burden the City.
Fully 14 percent of American homeless people live in New York, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While HUD counts the homeless differently than the Coalition for the Homeless, including individuals living outside the shelter system, the number they came up with – 78,676 on a single night in January 2018 – was also a record high.
And putting a roof over one’s head in New York is not cheap. A March report from ATTOM Data Solutions found home prices in New York the highest in the country, requiring buyers to spend 115 percent of their income to buy a home.
Over a third of New Yorkers claim they cannot afford the high cost of living, and 41 percent fear they will be forced to move elsewhere for economic reasons, according to a poll conducted in March. Non-white city-dwellers were especially feeling the squeeze – 45 percent said they could not afford to live in New York.
Coalition for Homeless reports:
“New York City’s homelessness crisis will not improve until the Mayor uses every tool at his disposal. That means devoting at least 30,000 apartments in his Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers, with at least 24,000 of those apartments to be created through new construction. With this simple change, the City can provide thousands of homeless men, women, and children with safe, clean, and stable homes,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless.
The State of the Homeless 2019 “report card” grades the City and State on their efforts to end the homelessness epidemic as follows:
- The last appreciable reduction in homelessness in New York City took place immediately prior to the Great Recession, and since then the shelter census has doubled.
- In February 2019, an average of 63,615 men, women, and children slept in New York City shelters each night, just shy of the all-time record set in January.
- However, the census trends by household composition diverged significantly in the past year: The number of families decreased slightly, while the number of homeless single adults increased by 9 percent.
- An all-time record 18,212 single adults slept in shelters each night in February 2019, up 150 percent from 2009. Between September 2018 and April 2019, the number of single adults in DHS shelters reached a new nightly record high 32 times.
- In fiscal year 2018, an all-time record 133,284 unique individuals spent at least one night in a New York City DHS shelter – an increase of 61 percent since fiscal year 2002 when the figure was 82,808 – fueled in large part by the increase in the number of homeless single adults.
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