Shelter space crunch: More than 50,000 are homeless in NYC, and they’re not all from here

Posted at 7:32 PM, Apr 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-01 19:32:13-04

More than 50,000 people in New York City are living in homeless shelters. And many of them may not even be from New York.

“The number has gone up to the point where now in the single adult system Over one out of every five adults to come into the system Is coming from someplace outside of New York City,” said Seth Diamond, commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services.

He told PIX11 News that while other states have capacity on their homeless shelters that’s not the case in New York. And anyone seeking shelter cannot be turned away.  That’s why Diamond says he wants to be able to ask a few questions to make sure the person does not have another place to stay.

“We would only insist they go somewhere else if they had a viable place to stay.  And we can help the taxpayers,” Diamond said, adding,  “Because of our history and the way we approach that problem we see many people that come from out of state.”

But the Coalition for the Homeless says a lack of affordable housing prevents people from living independently for extended periods.

“Homelessness has skyrocketed under Mayor Bloomberg because of his refusal to provide permanent housing assistance to help homeless people escape municipal shelters,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless.

But at the Bowery Mission, they say training people for a life after homelessness,  including preparing them for the workforce, helps them break the cycle.