NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of homeless people living in New York City has reached a record-high.
The Department of Homeless Services reported there were 60,252, up 200 in two weeks.
Now, some are saying the city’s current plan to combat homelessness isn’t working.
“It’s definitely something that we cannot stand for as a city,” NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said.
In an interview with CBS2, Viverito offered a number of suggestions, including the expansion of the “Living In Communities” (LINC) voucher program that provides money to move families out of a shelter and into permanent housing. But, she said there’s a hitch.
“I think the challenge that we’ve seen with the current voucher program, subsidy program, the LINC program, is for a very short period of time, there may be some hesitancy by landlords to engage with the city on it,” she said.
Viverito became the third city official to call for changes.
Last week, Comptroller Scott Stringer bemoaned the lack of childcare at city shelters.
“This is a tragedy in our city,” he declared.
The week before, former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who now runs a well-respected homeless program called “WIN,” called for appointing a czar to oversee the creation of permanent housing options.
Viverito said there is no need to create a new position.
“I think we have to not keep adding layers of bureaucracy here,” she said. “I think we have to look at what we have in place.”
When asked about this issue last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said help is on the way.
“Some of the biggest tools, weapons, we have to address homelessness are on the way,” he told Kramer. “There’s a lot more coming, and we intend to turn the tide, but it’s going to be a long battle.”
On Wednesday, the mayor’s office said it is working on a new initiative to require 25 percent of the apartments built under a tax exemption plan known as 421-A to be earmarked for the homeless.
Press Secretary Eric Phillips said “there’s more coming, but nothing that can be shared yet.”