As the Dow Jones reached a record high today, we also learned that 50,000 people slept in New York City’s homeless shelters every night in January. According to a report from Coalition for the Homeless, the number of children sleeping in homeless shelters has increased by 22%, to 21,034, in just one year. “More children and adults are homeless now in New York City than at any time since the Great Depression,” the report states.
Children currently make up the majority of homeless New Yorkers, accounting for over 21,000 of the population who sleep in shelters. That is twice more than single adults who are homeless and sleep in shelters.
Another 5,000 New Yorkers are homeless but do not regularly sleep in shelters.
Meanwhile NYC has over 3,371,062 housing units. 261,278, or 7.8%, of those units were vacant according to the 2010 census (page 30).
Keep in mind that NYC is the richest city in the Western World and second richest city in the world, behind Tokyo. With a large percentage of vacant housing units, homelessness can be literally eliminated with plenty of homes to spare.
But try telling that to Mayor Bloomberg, the 13th richest person on the planet and 10th richest in America, and owner of 11 homes. Recently the Bloomberg administration has been criticized for denying homeless families continuous shelter when the temperature drops below zero. In response to the criticism, he claimed that “Nobody’s sleeping on the streets” in NYC.
This is no surprise coming from a Mayor who banned food donations to the homeless, prohibited the red cross from setting up shelters for the 40,000 who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy and required the homeless to prove they have no where else to go before being allowed into a shelter.
Fortunately, a judge overturned the last policy saying it was enacted illegally but Bloomberg is not going down without a fight. In January, an appeals court heard the matter and will decided whether or not to overturn the judges decision.
New York City has seen a 73 percent increase in the number of homeless families during Bloomberg’s administration.
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