Most New Yorkers are probably not shocked to hear that the city's homeless population is at an all time high: about 60,000. Of that number, 22,000 are children.
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to build 90 new homeless shelters over the next five years.
The plan would expand the shelter system by a third of its current size, and cut down the homeless population by 2,500.
First outlined in the The New York Times, de Blasio's plan promises to clear out the controversial "cluster sites" by the end of 2021 and commercial hotels currently being used to shelter the homeless by the end of 2023.
20 new shelters per year will open in 2017 and 2018, with 5 of those shelters being "new high-quality" sites, while the rest will open in existing locations. Shelters will continue to open on a rolling basis over the following 7 years.
During this expansion period, those currently house in existing shelters will be housed in 12 temporary locations.
De Blasio addressed potential backlash from New Yorkers who may oppose a new shelter coming to their neighborhood, by assuring that communities will receive a 30 day notice before any new shelter opens, but asserted, "That does not mean if there are protests we will change our mind."
All eyes are on De Blasio, who is facing re-election, and came into office three years ago on the so far mostly unfulfilled promise of reducing the income inequality in NYC. The ever worsening rise in homelessness, and the unsafe conditions of current shelters being the most glaring evidence of that fact.
Fingers crossed De Blasio's plan is as effective as he promises. In the meantime, find out how you can help New York's homeless population here: Coalition for the Homeless.[via DNA Info] [Feature Image Courtesy Jose Vilson]