Back in November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mayor de Blasio had spent a record $1.6 billion on homeless services since taking office three years prior, a 60 percent increase that came with 20 percent more New Yorkers in city shelters. Now, as shared by the Post, Comptroller Scott Stringer says that homeless spending will reach a whopping $2.3 billion when this fiscal year ends on June 30th, almost twice the $1.2 billion spent three years ago. “We have to pause and ask ourselves, are we seeing results?” he said.
Of the $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion is expected to go towards housing families and single adults in shelters, $400 million towards homeless-prevention and anti-eviction services, and $188 million on rental subsidies.
An additional $102 million was spent in calendar year 2016 on de Blasio’s controversial initiative of using commercial hotel rooms to fill in the gaps from the shelter system. Stringer has been vocally against the practice, and in December, following the Mayor’s request for an additional 500 hotel rooms, he released a report that showed since November 2015, the city booked 425,000 hotel rooms, which cost more than $72.9 million. As 6sqft noted, as of November 2016, “there were 5,881 homeless New Yorkers staying in hotels, with the average nightly bill climbing from $163 to $194 over the past year.” Yesterday, Stringer re-emphasized his feelings: “We’ve talked about the outrageous costs of commercial hotels and the human costs of placing families with children in those hotels with no services and no hope.”
Though city officials haven’t disputed Stringer’s analysis, they do present their own stats, such as a 24 percent decrease in evictions after funding for tenant legal services was increased to $62 million and the 51,500 people who moved from shelters into permanent housing thanks to rental subsidies. But city records show the shelter count currently at 60,155, still up 20 percent.
Moreover, DNAinfo shares today an analysis by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness that says in the 2014-15 school year, one in eight public school students had experienced homelessness in the past five years. During the 2015-16 school year, 105,445 children in grades K-12 were homeless, up from 82,000 the year prior.
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