NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city has failed the homeless.
That’s the claim by an advocacy group that blasts Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a new report.
And according to the same report, the city’s homeless problem is getting worse, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday.
It’s a problem everyday New Yorkers say is hard to ignore.
“There’s a shanty town over there by the bank that I pass every morning that never existed before,” Upper West Side resident Karen Moseska said.
The Coalition for the Homeless says an all-time record of nearly 64,000 men, women and children slept in city shelters in January, and the shelter census is on track to increase by 5,000 people by 2022.
“This despite the mayor having released a plan two years ago un-ironically entitled, ‘Turning the Tide on Homelessness,’ a plan that inconceivably will mix the one thing that we know will turn things around — the creation of a sufficient amount of affordable permanent housing,” Coalition Executive Director Dave Giffen said.
Web Extra: Coalition For The Homeless Releases State Of The Homeless Report:
In the Coalition’s “State of the Homeless 2019” report, it gave Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo failing grades in implementing policies that would increase affordable housing. The governor was also given an “F” for homeless prevention and systematic cost-shifting practices that place the burden on the city.
Interview With Giselle Routhier Of Coalition For The Homeless:
“It’s so hard to quantify how many folks are on the streets,” Coalition policy director Giselle Routhier said.
Routhier said the city is also under-serving the street homeless, as it lacks supportive housing and programming that could help many who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse.
“We do talk about in the report the need to increase the number of safe haven beds, which are low-threshold shelters that allow folks to at least get up off the streets and into a safe indoor space because we know many folks on the streets are adverse to entering the shelter system because of the way that it’s set up,” Routhier said.
When asked what might be a solution to help homeless get off the streets, one New Yorker told Sanchez, “That’s a tough one. They gotta want to get off the street. A lot of them don’t want to get off the street.”
The mayor’s office would not directly address its handling of street homeless, only saying it is “…implementing the most aggressive affordable housing plan in New York City history.”
It also said it is giving housing assistance to more than 109,000 people, and financing more than 10,000 homes for homeless New Yorkers.
The governor didn’t react to his failing grades, but his office said it’s using a holistic approach to fighting homelessness by increasing the minimum wage, expanding access to health care, and spending $200 million to prevent addiction.
“It’d be nice to have people on hand, community on hand to help them on their pathway. So, that’d be nice to see,” Upper West Side resident Lorraine Lester said.