According to the Coalition for the Homeless, homelessness in New York City has reached “the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s” with over 61,277 homeless individuals. The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 47% more than it was ten years ago, and a 20% increase since Mayor de Blasio has taken office.
According to the Independent Budget Office, the number of homeless children in our public school system rose by 15% during de Blasio’s first year in office, reaching nearly 33,000 in the 2015-16 school year.
This year’s budget for the Department of Homeless Services is $1,775,043,042.00. Unfortunately, no amount of money will be enough to stabilize the crisis without a workable plan.
Steve Banks, the person who had been suing the city for 20 years over how it handled its homeless population, is now in charge of Human Resources Administration and has created a mega-agency, unraveling criteria and requirements.
Since the de Blasio administration stopped forecasting the number of people in need of shelter, they could not plan for capacity. They relaxed eligibility rules which allowed formerly ineligible applicants to begin flooding the system. People were no longer removed from shelters due to bad behavior and they have been less proactive in transitioning homeless people out of the shelters and onto a path of independent living – instead people were allowed to become dependent and remain dependent on the city for their housing.