New York City’s homeless rate rose seven percent in former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last year as mayor, with 53,615 people needing a roof over their heads, according to a report released Wednesday by the Coalition for the Homeless. The report outlined ways Mayor Bill de Blasio can take a proactive approach to helping those in need.
It’s not just the number of homeless people that’s breaking records. Homeless families stayed at shelters 60 days longer, or 16 percent more than last year. Child homelessness is also on the rise, reaching an all-time-high of 22,712 in Jan. 2014. More than 100,000 different New Yorkers – a five percent increase from last year – utilized the New York shelters during 2014.
The coalition proposed that de Blasio take an aggressive stance on building new permanent supportive housing for homeless people living with mental illness and other disabilities, eliminate the “wasteful program” of cluster-site shelter units by converting them back to permanent housing and enhance long-term housing subsidies that will provide a more stable housing situation for families.
CFH President Mary Brosnahan said de Blasio could reduce the number of homeless families by 66 percent over the next four years if he acts quickly.
“Amidst so much suffering, there is hopeful news,” Brosnahan said.