Report: City homeless shelters see record numbers
The number of people sleeping in city homeless shelters has hit an all-time high, topping more than 39,000, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Coalition for the Homeless, which put out the report, blamed the Bloomberg administration and its policy of not giving out Section 8 vouchers to those at homeless shelters, something that would help them to afford low-income housing.
“With unemployment continuing to rise and affordable housing as hard as ever to come by, this crisis will continue to get worse unless the Bloomberg administration changes direction, and does so quickly,” said Mary Brosnahan, head of the coalition.
As of Sept. 30, there were 39,243 homeless adults and children in shelters, an 11 percent increase over last year, according to the report, which is based on city records.
Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, the coalition found, there has been a 45 percent increase in the homeless shelter population.
Robert Hess, head of the Department of Homeless Services, pointed to a city rental assistance program he said had placed 13,000 people.
“In the years before the Bloomberg Administration reformed the shelter system, the kind of demand . . . we’re seeing today would have overwhelmed the system,” Hess said.