The homeless population in New York City has reached an all-time high.
New York City’s Department of Homeless Services said 60,252 people remain homeless, up 200 in two weeks, CBS New York reports.
“It’s definitely something that we cannot stand for as a city,” NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said.
Viverto told CBS New York that one possible way to solve this problem in the city would be to expand the Living in Communities (LINC) voucher program, a program that gives money to those in homeless shelters to spend on more permanent housing options. But some landlords might be hesitant to participate in the program.
“I think the challenge that we’ve seen with the current voucher program, subsidy program, the LINC program, is for a very short period of time, there may be some hesitancy by landlords to engage with the city on it,” she said.
Viverto is not the only city official to comment on this disturbing trend in New York City.
Comptroller Scott Stringer called the lack of child care at city shelters a “tragedy for the city.”
Former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who now runs a program for the homeless called “WIN,” called on the city to create a position that would be in charge of finding permanent housing options for the homeless.
Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that solutions are coming. “Some of the biggest tools, weapons, we have to address homelessness are on the way,” he said in response to a question about the issue. “There’s a lot more coming, and we intend to turn the tide, but it’s going to be a long battle.”
So far, the mayor’s office is working on a new initiative that would require 25 percent of the apartments built under a tax exemption plan to be set aside for the homeless.
But the mayor’s office declined to give any more specifics, saying more plans are in the works, but there is “nothing that can be shared yet.”