New York homelessness on the rise

Updated
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference on January 8, 2013 in New York City.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference on January 8, 2013 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised more than a few eyebrows in late February when he claimed that “nobody’s sleeping on the streets” of his city. He might have been even more wrong than his critics realized at the time. According to a recent report from the Coalition for the Homeless, “the number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping in emergency shelter each night has passed 50,000–a 61% increase since Mayor Bloomberg took office in January of 2002.”

Furthermore, writes Salon’s Natasha Lennard, “a low estimate for unsheltered homelessness on the New York streets puts the number at around 3,200 people every night.”

Bloomberg challenged the Coalition’s numbers, saying that it is “not a reputable organization.” He also argued that fewer people were “coming into the homeless system,” but that those who did enter the system were staying in shelters longer because New York state stopped funding a program that would move them into subsidized housing.

In late 2012, the New York mayor opened ten new homeless shelters across the city, including some in more affluent neighborhoods. However, he also proposed a budget in 2012 that would have cut $7 million from Runaway and Homeless Youth Services—though that money was later restored.

Bloomberg’s affordable housing policy has always come under fire in recent weeks due to a report by the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development that found “about two-thirds of New Housing Marketplace units are too expensive for the majority of local neighborhood residents.”

New York City is the seventh most unequal city in America in terms of income. According to a study by the real estate firm Knight Frank, it is also the city of greatest value to “high net worth individuals.”

New York homelessness on the rise

Updated