The ranks of the city's homeless have swollen to all-time highs, according to a new report, which praised Mayor Bill de Blasio's efforts to curtail the crisis, but called for more aggressive actions by both City Hall and Albany to stop it.
The loss of affordable housing in the city has had particularly dire consequences for African-American and Latino children, with 6% of all African American children and 2.9% of all Latino children having slept in a city shelter in 2014, according to "State of the Homeless 2015," the new report issued by Coalition for the Homeless.
About 60,600 people, including more than 25,400 children -- sleep in a municipal shelter each night -- the highest number in city history. About 116,000 different New Yorkers -- including 42,000 children -- spent at least one night last year in the shelter system. The number of homeless children in the city has quintupled since 1983 and the number of homeless people in shelters each night last year rose 13% from the year before.
The incessant loss of affordable housing and a rising tide of evictions -- which increased from 21,945 in 2005 to 26,857 in 2014 -- and "the legacy of disastrous Bloomberg-era homeless policies" are to blame for the burgeoning population, according to the report.
The mayor's plan to reduce homelessness should result in a shelter population decline of 40%, said the Coalition. Still, the group called on de Blasio to allocate more public housing apartments -- at least 2,500 a year -- to homeless families. The coalition also wants de Blasio to designate a minimum of 10% of all new housing created or preserved in his 10-year, 200,000-unit housing plan for homeless people. Too, Gov. Andrew Cuomo must enhance rental assistance programs and fully fund the State's share of an agreement to create 30,000 units of supportive housing for homeless New Yorkers with special needs, the coalition said.