A record number of children are homeless in New York this year, according to new figures from the Coalition for the Homeless. Almost 20,000 children are sleeping in homeless shelters – a number that has risen by 20 percent over the last five years.
Giselle Routhier, a policy analyst with the Coalition, wrote:
Behind these astonishing numbers lie the policy failures of Mayor Bloomberg and his administration. For the past year and a half, the City has had no programs in place to help move families from shelter to permanent housing – a historic break from the policies of previous New York City mayors.
Alongside the number of children spending the night in shelters, the report notes that thousands more school-age children live in unstable locations “such as doubled-up in apartments or hotels.” Data from school districts estimates that 67,000 students in New York are either homeless or in unstable living situations.
The Coalition put forward a number of proposals, aiming to move families and children into permanent affordable housing:
The Coalition for the Homeless calls on Mayor Bloomberg to follow the lead of the New York City Council and Speaker Quinn by reversing course from the current disastrous policies and enacting the following:
1. Return to using federal housing resources, such as public housing and Section 8, to help homeless New Yorkers move from shelter to permanent housing;
2. Create a new local rental assistance program modeled on the successful Section 8 voucher program;
3. In coming years, set aside a significant percentage of City-assisted apartments – apartments created or preserved by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) – for homeless families and individuals.