Report: homeless rates increased

Lexi Faunce, Contributing Writer

A record-breaking number of children were homeless in New York City last year, according to the annual State of the Homeless report.

The report, which the Coalition for the Homeless released on Thursday, stated that over 60,000 people slept in shelters each night last year. This number was an increase from the previous year’s count of 53,615 people. Additionally, an all-time record of 116,000 different New Yorkers, over 42,000 of them children, were reported to have spent at least one night in a shelter during 2014.

Patrick Markee, the Coalition’s deputy executive director for advocacy, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policies were responsible for the rise in homelessness.

“Last year’s rise in homelessness was the result of New York City’s worsening housing affordability crisis and the lingering effects of Bloomberg-era elimination of housing for homeless children and families,” Markee said in the report.

Markee said City Hall and Gov. Andrew Cuomo need to take more action to address the issue.

“The Governor has opposed efforts to enhance rental assistance for homeless families and has proposed a deeply inadequate supportive housing plan that falls far short of the need,” Markee said.

According to the report, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing and rental assistance programs for homeless families may alleviate some of the city’s homelessness problem. The number of homeless families with children declined by more than 300 since December.

De Blasio said in his State of the City address on Feb. 3 that his 10-year housing plan will help New York City provide more accessible housing for the homeless.

“This administration is taking a fundamentally different approach — one that not only recognizes the need for more affordable housing, but demands it,” de Blasio said.

CAS freshman Carol Davis said de Blasio is already honoring early promises he made during his campaign for mayor.

“The homelessness issue was one of de Blasio’s cornerstone topics while he was running,” Davis said. “It’s inspiring to see that he has already made progress toward his goal.”

In the coming years, de Blasio’s plan aims to move over 5,000 homeless families out of shelters and into permanent housing.

Steinhardt junior Thomas Rubio said the city and the state need to do more together to reduce the number of families on the streets.

“I am glad to see that the city is finally moving in the right direction under de Blasio to help combat the homelessness crisis,” Rubio said. “Working at the state level with the governor to fund de Blasio’s housing plan will ensure that measures are taken more quickly and will guarantee the success of the plan.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 24 print edition. Email Lexi Faunce at [email protected].