A report released Tuesday by a homeless advocacy group found that the city saw a record number of people — nearly 64,000 — living in homeless shelters in January. The Coalition for the Homeless’ report concluding that if the city and state don’t affect significant changes, that number could go up by 5,000 in the next three years.
The annual State of the Homeless report gave both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio failing grades for providing inadequate new affordable housing to accommodate the growing needs of New York City residents. The report also noted there were 18,212 single adults residing in shelters in February — a 150% jump since 2009.
Giselle Routhier, the policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, said the mayor could enact several policy changes to address the challenge, including building at least 24,000 subsidized affordable units and setting aside 6,000 units for homeless households.
"New York City’s homelessness crisis will not improve until the mayor uses every tool at his disposal,” she said in a statement.
The report projects that the city will see an additional 5,000 residents in city shelters by 2022. The coalition recommends the mayor increase the city’s shelter capacity to keep vacancy rates above 3% for each shelter population. The Nonprofit also called on the governor to reverse state cuts to the city’s homeless shelter program.
Jane Meyer, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said the administration is taking several steps to curb the homeless population by providing housing assistance and creating new affordable housing units. Meyer also said the city is planning to open 43 new shelters across the five boroughs.
"More than 109,000 New Yorkers (since 2014) have received rehousing assistance to move out of or avoid shelter and we have financed over 10,200 homes for homeless New Yorkers," she said in a statement.
The governor’s office, in response to the report, shrugged off the findings and pointed to the state’s minimum wage increase, a $200 million effort to combat addiction, and ongoing affordable housing efforts.
"We know it’s the job of advocates to put their best case forward, but let’s be intellectually honest," spokesman Richard Azzopardi said in a statement. "Fighting homelessness requires a holistic approach."