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NYC needs to do more for homeless, Quinnipiac poll says

A Times Square public safety officer talks to

A Times Square public safety officer talks to a homeless couple, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Manhattan. Photo Credit: AP / Julie Jacobson

A majority of New York City voters report seeing an increase in homeless people in recent years and view homelessness as a serious problem, according to Quinnipiac University poll results released Wednesday.

The poll also found 46 percent of voters say the quality of life in the city has gone downhill in recent years, while 33 percent say it remains the same and 19 percent say it has gotten better.

“New Yorkers are seeing more homeless people on the street and they don’t like it,” assistant poll director Maurice Carroll said in a statement.

The poll showed 93 percent of voters believe living on the streets is either a “very serious” or a “somewhat serious” issue.

Meanwhile, 58 percent report seeing more homeless individuals on the streets, in parks and on the subway, 27 percent say they’re seeing “about the same” amount and 11 percent say they’ve noticed fewer, according to the survey.

A large segment of New Yorkers — 73 percent — say the city is doing too little to help the homeless population, the poll found.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been criticized and scrutinized for his management of the problem and has stepped up efforts to respond. Among other initiatives, de Blasio this winter launched a plan to create 15,000 supportive housing units linked to social services as well as the HomeStat program to track and provide individualized care for the homeless.

De Blasio spokeswoman Ishanee Parikh said the administration has made “unprecedented commitments” to ensure the city has the robust programs to prevent homelessness, aid people living on the streets and transition those in shelters into stable housing and employment.

“We agree that our city’s homeless families and individuals deserve more prevention, shelter exit, and street outreach options,” she said in a statement.

Arvernetta Henry, a member of the Picture the Homeless advocacy group, said she’s not surprised by the high numbers of voters concerned about people on the streets. She said City Hall isn’t doing enough to create permanent affordable housing.

“If they were really assisting them, the population would not continue to grow,” Henry said.

Nearly 60,000 individuals are staying in city shelters, according to the nonprofit Coalition for the Homeless. More than 3,000 people are living on the streets, according to the city Department of Homeless Services.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,143 city voters between Jan. 11 and Sunday via landline and cellphone. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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