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New York City Homelessness Rises Under Bloomberg

Alexander Reed Kelly
Associate Editor
In December 2010, Alex was arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House alongside Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, healthcare activist Margaret Flowers and…
Alexander Reed Kelly

This spring more than 43,000 people, including a record 17,000 children, slept in New York City homeless shelters each night. The average length of a family’s stay in a shelter has increased to nearly one year, with the number of people sleeping in shelters currently at an all time high.

The advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless blames Mayor Michael Bloomberg for these increases, alleging he failed to help homeless families get into affordable permanent housing. New York City’s homeless population has risen by 39 percent during Bloomberg’s tenure, an increase due in part to his administration’s cancellation of the Advantage apartment rental subsidy program. In the meantime, the city has had no means of helping shelter residents attain permanent housing.

Coalition for the Homeless senior policy analyst Patrick Markee provides what is perhaps the most frustrating statistic and an antidote for the claim that homeless people cannot be housed permanently and affordably: “It costs $36,000 a year to shelter a homeless family in New York City. In comparison, a rental voucher would be $10,000 a year.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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