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More Housing, Less Homelessness
"There are currently about 59,000 New Yorkers staying in homeless shelters and several thousand more sleeping on the streets, figures that fluctuate seasonally," Ben Adler writes for City and State New York. Others would rent but are forced to stay with friends and family because they cannot afford the city's high rates. "Add it all up, and New York City’s homeless rate is the highest it has been since the Great Depression, even as the national economy verges on full employment," Adler writes.
Rents have risen twice as fast as wages in the city since the recession. And competition is fierce at the low end of the rent scale. Besides the problem of scarcity driving the prices of affordable homes, there's simply not enough cheaper housing for all the people who would rent it. "The major increase in homelessness is among people who simply lack a place to live and wind up in a homeless shelter. In May, there were 15,023 families, with 22,538 children, sleeping each night in New York City’s municipal shelters, according to the Coalition for the Homeless," Adler reports.
While New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has done some work to allow for more homes near transit, Midtown New York has imposed new height restrictions. Adler argues that this process of treading water on housing production is exacerbating the New York's homelessness issue.