NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – More homeless families are looking for a place to stay in New York, but a lot of them these days aren’t even from the city.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

Last year, more than 2,000 families came to New York and headed straight to a shelter. WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported that that is up almost 50 percent since 2008.

The city’s Homeless Services records show that 2,053 families sought shelter last year compared to 1,390 in 2008.

But Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that that is no shocker.

“The shelter system, the intake system, and the shelter we provide is infinitely better than it used to be and so if you’re in hard times, people come to New York,” he told reporters.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon With More On The Story

Bloomberg said he’d rather use the city’s tax dollars on New Yorkers rather than out-of-towners, but it’s not up to him.

The courts have spoken.

“We have an obligation under the Constitution of the state as defined by a judge and we’re going to obey the law,” Bloomberg said.

What the city can do is buy homeless people one-way tickets out of town and it’s been doing that for years. Since 2007, it has paid a one-way fare for 2,654 singles and families to 24 states and five continents.

“If they have any place where they could have family members to live with,” Bloomberg said, noting it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than putting them in a shelter.

What do you have to say about New York’s homeless situation? Sound off in the comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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