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New York - New York City Plans To Open 90 New Homeless Shelters

Published on: February 28, 2017 09:30 PM
By: Reuters 
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A homeless man begs in Madison Square Park in New York March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonA homeless man begs in Madison Square Park in New York March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New York - New York plans to open 90 new shelters as city officials struggle to get a handle on homelessness, which has risen over the past few decades to its highest level in almost a century, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.

The move is intended to ease crowding in current shelters and allow the city to move away from housing people in “cluster sites,” which have been criticized as expensive and unsafe.

“This is a commitment to turning the tide,” de Blasio told a news conference.

Some 62,000 people, mostly families, sleep in the city’s shelters each night. The number has doubled over the past 15 years to reach its highest point since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to city figures.

The crisis has generated election-year frustration for the Democratic mayor, who ran on a campaign promise of creating housing equity for poor and working-class New Yorkers.


De Blasio said the plan was his administration’s best shot at winning the city’s long-failed struggle against homelessness.

“This is a blood and guts war strategy and we will be fighting this war for a long time,” de Blasio said.

The plan calls for 20 new shelters over the next 10 months, another 20 next year and five per year after that, bringing the total to more than 360 shelters. Thirty existing shelters will be expanded.

The plan calls for removing people from so-called “cluster site” apartment units by the end of 2021 and from all hotels by the end of 2023.

Rising homelessness has forced the city to house about 45 percent of its shelter residents in the units, which have been criticized as costly, often rundown and dangerous.

Last year, two girls living in a cluster site with their parents were killed when a boiler exploded and a 26-year-old mother and her two children were stabbed to death at a hotel where the city had placed them.

The city plans to reduce the number of people in shelters by 2,500 over the next five years.

Advocates for the homeless were lukewarm on the strategy.

“The mayor’s heart is in the right place, and we believe this is an issue he wants to solve, but this plan is not enough for that monumental task,” said Judith Goldiner, attorney for the Legal Aid Society, which provides legal help to the poor.

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Read Comments (1)  —  Post Yours »


 Mar 01, 2017 at 08:59 PM Anonymous Says:

When Guiliani was Mayor, he had the cops clear those vagrants/vagabonds/bums off the streets. Now, if one goes to Midtown and other parts of Manhattan, one will see many of them. Why does the present Mayor tolerate those miscreants. He wants to bring millions more tourists to NYC. Yet, he encourages the homeless to sleep and urinate in the street. Why should tourists be exposed to those dregs of society.


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