In an effort to reduce homelessness, the city of New York will be opening or expanding almost 130 shelters over the next few years. Will this bring down the homeless population? We are doubtful unless the cost of housing is addressed.
The project will be kicking off during 2017, and the new homelessness shelters being opened will help give individuals and families a place to live. In addition to opening new locations throughout the city, the government is also expanding dozens of existing shelters. This means that the homeless in NYC will have access to more beds to sleep in as well as other, related social services, which is of course a good thing.
New York City starts 2017 with a major homeless problem
While the exact counts are hard to determine, there are an estimated 60,000 people that sleep in a shelter each and every night. There are also thousands of others that stay on the streets as they either do not make it to a shelter, or maybe there are no beds available for them to sleep in. But that is not the extent of the problem!
There are also thousands of others that are sleeping on a friend’s or family members coach, packed into an apartment, and in general living in rough conditions. Others are forced to live in a cheap motel. To put this into perspective, the number of verified homeless is about a 60% increase in the last ten years.
The homeless also fall into many different categories. Many of those living in a shelter have a job, but their wages are often very low. And with the outrageous cost of housing in NYC they just can’t afford to live on their own. Often coming up with money for a security deposit is a huge barrier, but there are other challenges too. Whether it is lack of a job with a livable wage or a landlord redeveloping a home, problems exist. If the issue is cash, click here security deposit assistance.
What NYC is doing to address the crisis
While some things are being done, we do not think it is enough. The shelters are full. Many of the homeless are being given short term lodging in a hotel room, which is obviously very expensive for the city. It is projected that the city will spend tens of millions of dollars on motel or hotel rooms during 2017. That cost is not sustainable. So the city will be adding new shelters.
As many as 90 new shelters will be open over the next 5 years. In addition to that about 30 or more will be expanded. So New York City is committed to making a large investment in tackling the homeless problem. That is the good news, but what about the cost of rent or food, or utility bills? The region needs to ramp up the number of assistance programs for New York City families.
The bad news is that the city still projects that it will barely make a dent in the problem. Even with these 90+ shelters it is estimated that there will still be over 50,000 homeless people in 2021. One big reason is the cost of monthly housing in NYC.
In addition to investing in the shelters, NYC is ramping up other housing programs during 2017. Not only will federal grants be used to help pay rental deposits, but there will be more job retraining, legal aid, and more. The 60,000+ homeless people will have access to all these resources.
NYC is planning on spending over 1.3 billion dollars during 2017 in an effort to find a solution to homelessness. The funds from the new shelters will be drawn from this budget. Whether it is enough or not, only time will tell. While we do like the effort that is being made, there are just too many facets to this problem.