City to Open Nine New Homeless Shelters

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New shelters are opening across the City, as a record number of homeless New Yorkers hits the streets. According to the New York Times, the 43,731 homeless people currently in shelters is an 18% jump from last year. The City has already had to open five shelters in the Bronx, and two in Manhattan and Brooklyn each, to accommodate the rising population. Gothamist reports this rise in homelessness directly coincides with the City cutting Advantage, a program which helps subsidize apartments for formerly homeless people who maintain employment for two years. A weak economy and rising housing costs are also to blame, according to Patrick Markee, a senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless, reports the Times. Seth Diamond, the commissioner of homeless services, told the Times the program was very effective, and its abrupt end has made things difficult. Illegal hotels in the City are now being transformed into shelters, while some still retain long-term residents alongside the formerly homeless tenants. The Times also reported neighbors frequently only receive a few weeks notice of homeless shelters cropping up in their areas. Emergency procedure allows for these shelters to be instituted by the City, without the City consulting Community Boards (though they must be notified in advance). Homeless shelters are required by New York law, though there are often limits on how long a person can stay. "The current shelter census is the highest ever, officials said; the number does not represent the total homeless population in the city, because some people avoid the shelter system," reported the Times.There are currently 228 homeless shelters in the City. -Alissa Fleck

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