Homeless population grew 61% since Bloomberg took office: Report
A report released Tuesday found there were more than 50,000 New Yorkers living in shelters a night in January but the city's Department of Homeless Services say there's more to the numbers than meets the eye.
The Coalition for the Homeless' annual report found that the population residing in city shelters increased 61% since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002 and blamed the increase on his policies.
DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond remarked that the findings in the coalition's State of the Homeless report don't tell the whole story because there are fewer families entering shelters this year and finding homes for them doesn't happen overnight.
"We have fewer people come but we have more barriers to getting them out of the system," he said.
Diamond noted the courts ended the Advantage Rental Subsidy program, a form of welfare, which gave the city money for shelter applicants to instead pay for housing for two years once they get jobs.. The program helped 25,000 households before its demise in 2011, according to the commissioner.
The coalition's president, Mary Brosnahan however, said the city failed to follow up on its promises for more Section 8 and affordable housing apartments for poor families.
"Had Mayor Bloomberg simply followed the strategy of previous mayors of both parties and prioritized moving the homeless into permanent affordable housing, there would be thousands of fewer families and children in our shelter system today," she said in a statement.