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According to a new city management report, during the 2017 fiscal year, the city spent an average of $99 a day to house single adults in facilities in New York City; in fiscal year 2018, that number grew to $117 a day, the Wall Street Journal reports. The cost of housing homeless families in shelters rose in fiscal year 2018 as well, with over 22,340 children living in shelters–an average of $192 a day compared to $171 in fiscal year 2017. It cost $147 each day to house adult families in fiscal year 2018 compared with $138 a day a year prior. According to the city’s Department of Homeless Services, the bigger numbers are the result of an increased investment in services, repairs and security at shelters.
Though the city’s shelter population has increased by over 10,000 people since 2014, it has held steady at around 60,000 for the past two years. Spending on homeless services has risen throughout that period while initiatives to move people into permanent housing have continued, according to the report.
The overall Department of Homeless Services budget tops $2 billion; $172 million was added in fiscal year 2018 to go toward shelter operations. Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for Homeless Services said: “We’re transforming a haphazard shelter system by ending the use of cheaper stopgap measures and investing heavily in service providers, shelter security, and repairs and renovations.”
Despite increased spending, the number of single adults in New York City’s homeless shelters has continued to rise each month, reported Politico. Over a half-dozen providers and advocates surveyed have said that the growing number of single homeless people in shelters is due to factors beyond the city’s control, such as the lack of housing for low-income renters and stagnating wages.
According to Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless, the shelter population hasn’t gotten any smaller because so few permanent housing options are available.
And advocates say that there are plenty of things that the city and the state could affect, including a housing plan that should be more focused on the homeless population, insufficient supportive housing and inadequate plans for people released from prisons and jails.
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