Spike in New York’s Homeless Population Prompts Shelter Expansion
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2012 -- At least five new shelters are planned to open by the end of this year due to the increase in the homeless population, says Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.
The expansion will see three apartment-style family-unit shelters and two single-adults shelters with over 200 beds apiece will be established in the coming months.
Of the five units, two will be located in the Bronx. One will be situated in each of the Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn neighborhoods.
New York had already increased their shelters by 10 between the months of May and August. While the number of expansions is obviously high, the Department of Homeless Services declined to say if the expansion was among the largest in the recent history of the metropolitan.
There is a reported 46,036 individuals in the shelter population, which includes 26,503 adults and 19,537 children. Since 2011, there has been a 29% increase. Spring of 2011 was when the rent subsidy program for the homeless lost its federal funding.
It is not only the sheer numbers, but also the length of the predicament that is troublesome. Length of stay has increased by 30%, says the Wall Street Journal. Longer stays mean considerable strain added to the workers of the shelters.
Council members criticized the Bloomberg administration for not responding to the current crisis. "There was nothing new offered to confront a big crisis," said Council Member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat, in an interview after the hearing.
Brooklyn Democrat and Council Member Stephen Levin said that the homelessness in New York City is getting worse. "Unless there is a significant change in policy, those trends will continue to get worse," he told Mr. Diamond, city commissioner of New York’s Department of Homeless Services. "What is the real game plan here?"
The commissioner told council members that it was important to remain realistic about funding. "The resources that existed in the past are not available now," he said. "We can't hope for something that's not going to come."
Mr. Diamond stated that administration was committed to helping individuals find work through a partnership with Human Resources Administration. In 2012, more than 4,500 persons gained employment through such means, Mr. Diamond said.
"We must turn our attention to investing in the success of homeless families by giving them the skills and assistance they need to obtain jobs and leave the shelter system," Mr. Diamond said in his testimony.
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