NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — According to a new study, a record number of people stayed overnight at New York City homeless shelters in January.
The Coalition for the Homeless said the number was nearly 54,000 people.
In its annual report, the advocacy group found the number of newly homeless families entering the system rose 12 percent. It said the number of homeless children rose by 8 percent and single adults by 5 percent.
The average stay for families with children was 14.5 months, another record.
Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless, told 1010 WINS the increase in homelessness will present a big challenge for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Who even in just 10 weeks in office has taken some important steps to put in place protections for homeless kids and families. But needs to do more to in terms of providing permanent housing to help these families and individuals escape homelessness,” Markee said.
The coalition praised de Blasio’s emphasis on building more affordable housing. Markee said the city is spending too much on homeless shelters and not enough on helping to get them into permanent housing, 1010 WINS reported.
“If we provide rental assistance and other permanent housing assistance to help these families escape homelessness. We’ll have fewer homeless kids and families and we’ll be spending less money,” Markee said.
Markee told 1010 WINS he is optimistic about the way the mayor will fight the homeless problem.
“Already Mayor de Blasio and his administration have taken some critical steps to protect homeless kids and families from harm, including relocating hundreds of children from two notorious city-run shelters that had hazardous conditions,” Markee said.
The mayor’s office told the New York Times it looks forward to working with the coalition on bringing down the number of homeless people in New York City.
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