Homeless advocates reported this week that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the New York City shelter population to record numbers, according to CBS New York.
The advocates described the numbers as “astronomical,” saying that for the first time, the number of single adults sleeping in Department of Homeless Services shelters has grown to more than 20,000.
“That includes an all-time record of 15,369 single men — and a near record of 4,841 single women — in October, the latest statistics available,” the article read.
The numbers are according to Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, which is a coalition of advocacy groups.
“This dire homelessness crisis among single adults has been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has already forced more individuals into homelessness and will likely worsen in the coming months,” explained Giselle Routhier, policy director of the Coalition for the Homeless.
However, advocates noted the numbers did not include people sleeping on the streets or in private shelters.
“They say not only is COVID to blame, but also multiple economic and policy failings, including a lack of supportive housing, which is affordable housing with support services,” the CBS New York article said.
The report comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio continues defending his decision to move hundreds of homeless men out of the Upper West Side’s Lucerne Hotel, according to Spectrum News:
The mayor had promised to move the men out of the hotel earlier in the fall after some residents complained that their quality of life was deteriorating. The city has been housing thousands of homeless men and women in hotels to protect them during the pandemic. The mayor said he would move the men to a hotel downtown. That move is now on pause after some of the men and residents in Lower Manhattan sued.
When reporter Marcia Kramer asked de Blasio in July what he planned to do about the city’s growing homeless encampments and additional problems, he said, “No question we’ll deal with these issues, as we have before.”
Now, advocates are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to build 20,000 units of “supportive housing” to meet the needs of single adults.
“Governor Cuomo knows how life-changing supportive housing can be for the most vulnerable New Yorkers – now we need him to follow through on the promise he made five years ago to fund 20,000 units of this desperately needed housing,” Routhier said.