NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is grappling with a rapid rise in homelessness.

City officials have had to open nine new shelters in two months as the number of homeless seeking a place to stay jumped 18 percent in only a year.

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The Department of Homeless Services tells The New York Times there are now nearly 44,000 people living in the city’s shelter system, including more than 18,000 children.

That tally is a record high. It doesn’t include people who live on the street.

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City officials believe the increase is partly linked to the end of a rent-subsidy program for homeless families.

The subsidy program was dropped when the state withdrew financial support.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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