De Blasio Paints a Grim Picture for New York City’s Homeless

While the city’s shelters are open and the homeless are not required to be there, more than half of the New York City residents are not welcome in their own homes, according to the…

De Blasio Paints a Grim Picture for New York City’s Homeless

While the city’s shelters are open and the homeless are not required to be there, more than half of the New York City residents are not welcome in their own homes, according to the New York State of the City — the newest installment of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s annual address to the Human Rights Campaign.

Roughly 14 percent of New Yorkers live in unsafe and substandard housing, and more than half of those are people who are either homeless or residing in an unsafe or substandard location. The city is spending $35 million on homeless housing programs to create or preserve 3,000 affordable apartments. About $45 million is being spent on a summer-jobs program to employ and shelter homeless youth and $1.7 million on the city’s action plan to repair housing damaged by the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness.

“For these millions of people, there are nowhere else to go,” Mr. de Blasio said. “And no borough is spared.”

But whether to keep all homeless families and children housed — rather than follow the federal rule to periodically send homeless families into emergency housing or hotels — is among the most contentious issues in the city.

The New York City shelter population has increased, in part, because of a surge in the number of new arrivals: the city has reported that roughly 7,000 individuals will spend the first night of their next year homeless this October, citing a nearly 9 percent increase in the number of homeless New Yorkers since the 2016 season.

The Coronavirus Emergency Center at the Brooklyn Hospital Center deals with all types of emergencies involving the severely ill — from childbirth to pneumonia to concussions — that have a higher rate of death or are of a severe type.

“It can be devastating in a heartbeat,” one caseworker told The Daily Beast. “Nowhere else is capable of providing proper care to that many people in an emergency that needs a community hospital that can deal with emergencies.”

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