This year, that number has increased to 46,000 - almost 20,000 of whom are children.
Even the NY Times editorial page, which normally blames these kind of socio-economic problems on bad schools and bad teachers, understands that the sharp increase in homeless children in New York City since 2005 is a problem that could be alleviated by the politicians in charge.
The Bloomberg administration unwisely ended priority referrals for homeless families to public housing and for federal rent subsidies, which have very long waiting lists. The mayor should find a way to give destitute families quicker access to public housing and rental vouchers.The New York City Council and Speaker Christine Quinn have also been working on a new rental support program similar to one called Advantage, which helped 25,000 families get permanent housing over a four-year period. Mr. Cuomo cut the state’s $65 million annual contribution to the Advantage program in 2011, which resulted in a loss of $27 million in matching federal funds.The Bloomberg administration also decided to cancel the city’s $48 million annual contribution, arguing that the city could not afford to pay for the program on its own. The governor and Mr. Bloomberg should restore the state and city funds for an Advantage-like program and reapply for more federal money.
Cuomo and Bloomberg are too busy looking for ways to cut taxes on corporations and Wall Street banks to address this crisis in the city's streets.
And back in August, Bloomberg complained that people stayed in the shelter system too long because “it is a much more pleasurable experience” than in the past - a statement that drew howls of criticism from advocates for the homeless:
Advocates for the homeless, who consider the Bloomberg’s administration record on homelessness to be one of the top failures of his 11.5-year tenure at City Hall, quickly lambasted the mayor for his remarks.
“The Mayor’s assertion that homeless New Yorkers are staying in shelters longer because they are ‘much more pleasurable’ is shocking and offensive,” said Mary Brosnahan, executive director of the Coalition for the Homelessness, in an emailed statement.
“Mayor Bloomberg systematically closed every single path to affordable housing once available to homeless families with vulnerable children,” she said. “His failed policies are the major factor leading to the record shelter population this summer. Blaming homeless families and suggesting they are luxuriating in ‘pleasurable’ accommodations shows just how badly the mayor is out of touch.”
An overloaded shelter system, 65% of homeless children turned away from the shelters every night because there's no room, people stuck in the system because they have no way to get out and the highest number of homeless people living on city streets since the Great Depression - that's Bloomberg's legacy as mayor.