New York, United States (Sputnik) – The New York City authorities are expressing their concerns over social programs to battle homelessness in the city, as newly coined data suggests that the number of those living in shelters has reached a historic high and continues to grow at a record pace.
The Department of Homeless Services reported a total of 60,231 homeless people in New York City as of November 2, 2016, saying that it had increased by 200 people in two week period.
The city’s continuous battle with homelessness hasn’t reversed the trend in the last few years.
In December 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio the new commissioner of the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the department dealing with issue of homelessness in the city, to make a difference after the previous official on post had been criticized for inefficiency.
The new HRA commissioner, Steven Banks, was known at the time for advocating the “the right for shelter” policies, meaning that anyone in need should be granted shelter.
In practice that means that homeless people are dispersed to hotels, where the city government rents rooms for them.
Under Banks, the number of homeless people in NYC hotels has jumped from 2,600 in February 2016 to 6,100 in November. Eventually, this approach has backfired and people protested against turning hotels into accommodation for the homeless, the New York Times reported.
Now, some authorities assume that the homeless policies have failed.
NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said to CBS suggests that the LINC program voucher program that offers homeless city’s rental assistance hasn’t borne fruit, as landlords providing housing were “hesitant” about it.
A week before, ex-NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged for establishing a body to overlook the process of creating housing for people.
Reports suggest that NYC authorities are now working on a proposal to give out a quarter of housing spaces in facilities constructed under 421-A program, a 1971 act that encouraged developers to construct facilities in the city’s remote parts in exchange for tax relief. Talking on the plan, Mayor’s Office spokesperson Eric Phillips refused to give additional details.
In an interview with CBS, Mayor de Blasio vowed that the new “weapons” to combat the problem will be introduced soon.
“There’s a lot more coming, and we intend to turn the tide, but it’s going to be a long battle,” he said.