Report: City's Spending on Homelessness Has Risen Dramatically
Over the last eight years, spending on the city's homeless shelter system has soared by 62 percent, and a new report shows that that heavy burden is falling mostly on the city and not on the state. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Talk with the homeless New Yorkers at an intake center on the East Side, and they will tell you exactly how the city's shelter system is stretched thin.
"They are housing us at a place called the Courtyard Marriott Hotel outside of LaGuardia in Queens," said one homeless New Yorker. "They are wasting money and resources by putting us in those hotels. Why not spend it on housing?"
A new report from one fiscal watchdog comes to a similar conclusion: the city's spending on homelessness has risen dramatically.
"The state is paying less, and this has meant that the city has been spending more federal dollars on its shelters. But also, the city itself has had to fund a larger share," said Sarah Stefanski of the Independent Budget Office.
As the shelter population rises, the city is paying more, while state spending on the problem remains the same.
According to the city's Independent Budget Office, money from Washington helped cover nearly 60 percent of the cost of sheltering homeless families in 2014. It's a different story for single adults, though. The city covered 73 percent of the total cost to shelter homeless singles last year.
Over the past year, the number of homeless families has actually declined ever so slightly, but the number of single adults seeking shelter is climbing. Just this week, the number of homeless single adults was the highest it has been in recent history.
As this population ticks up, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have exchanged blame.
Just last month, Cuomo called on the city to spend more on helping the homeless.
"I think the mayor is now acknowledging that we have a very serious homeless problem," Cuomo said on September 2.
Asked whether he would make a state investment, Cuomo said, "I've advocated the state spending more money and the city spending more money. So that's my position."
Something one homeless New Yorker might appreciate.
"I just want, I want to get to my housing," the homeless New Yorker said.