Yesterday, it was announced that the Dow Jones reached a record high. At the same time, it was revealed that some 50,000 people slept in New York City's homeless shelters on a nightly basis in January. A report from Coalition for the Homeless also showed that the number of children sleeping in homeless shelters jumped by 22 percent to over 21,000 in just a year.
The report claims that there are more homeless adults and children in New York City than any time "since the Great Depression."
The Bloomberg administration has been criticized for denying homeless families shelter when temperatures dip below zero. The report states that homeless families account for 78 percent of the people staying in the city's shelters, and that figure has jumped by 73 percent under Bloomberg.
Dana Rubinstein of Capital NY was able to get a reaction from Bloomberg:
"The Coalition [for] the Homeless is not a reputable organization," he said.
"We are having fewer people coming into the homeless system," he continued. "They are staying longer. Why? Because the state cut the Advantage program out. When they cut their money out, we also lost the federal monies. Without those subsidies, people don't move out. So if you want to reduce the population, you've gotta go and get those monies back. Keep in mind, it was the Coalition [for] the Homeless that wanted to kill that program and hurt the people in the shelters. So it's a little bit disingenuous for them to start talking about it."
"The numbers are what they are."
Coalition for the Homeless decided to return fire:
Rather than taking responsibility for his Administration's failure, Mayor Bloomberg continues to blame everyone else for record homelessness in NYC. Today, he blames the State and, ludicrously, the Coalition for the Homeless, for ending Advantage - even though Advantage families were returning to shelter in record numbers. Last week, he blamed mentally-ill men and women suffering on our streets for not wanting help - even though he’s still in court trying to make it more difficult for them to get into emergency shelter. He blames homeless families for trying to game the system - even though they clearly have nowhere else to turn. Mayor Bloomberg can try to deflect attention away from his disastrous policies all he wants, but 50,000 New Yorkers would not be homeless today if he had chosen to invest in the strategy of moving families into permanent, affordable housing that Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani all used with success.
A record 21,000 girls and boys will go to sleep tonight without a place to call home. A more hopeful future for them depends upon Michael Bloomberg accepting responsibility for his role in the current disaster - and moving swiftly to restore permanent housing for our most vulnerable neighbors.
The claws are out.