According to a new report by the Coalition For The Homeless, New York City's homeless shelter population rose to 41,000 at the end of October, making it the first time the city has exceeded the 40,000 mark.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, shows that the number of homeless children sleeping in shelters also reached an all-time record with 17,000 children needing to stay in shelters each night.
The coalition condemned Mayor Bloomberg's policies concerning the homeless, citing the dramatic increase in the city's homeless rate since the Bloomberg administration ended housing assistance programs such as Advantage, which aimed to assist homeless families transfer to more permanent housing. The report states:
They [Bloomberg administration] said that the shelter population would not increase significantly, and predicted that fewer homeless families would seek shelter. In fact, the Mayor proposed a homeless services budget more than one fifth lower than the last fiscal year’s actual expenditures. But only a few short months later, the verdict on Mayor Bloomberg's latest disastrous homeless policy shift is in. And the result is a new all-time record homeless population in New York City - more than 41,000 people for the first time ever - with even further increases expected in the coming months.
In response to the new report, the WSJ reports that Bloomberg officials defended the mayor's approach on Tuesday, but acknowledged the need for action and continued attention.
Earlier this year, officials from both the Bloomberg and Cuomo administrations blamed each other for the controversial cutbacks, which many viewed as an inevitable cause for the 15,000 people who were enrolled in Advantage to be forced back onto the streets.
In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg promised to reduce the homeless population number by two-thirds over a five year period and instituted various efforts including the preventive program HomeBase. However, Wednesday's shocking number proves that little has been solved.
New York state has also seen a 70 percent increase in the number of individuals receiving food stamps in year with an unprecedented 3 million people recorded this summer. Back in 2007, 1.8 million people applied for the assistance program.