The number of homeless New Yorkers spending the night in shelters is at a record high.
The Coalition for the Homeless says more than 39,000 New Yorkers are currently sleeping in shelters -- the highest number since the city began keeping track 25 years ago.
Advocates for the homeless say the mayor's policies must be reexamined, including the decision to cut shelter residents off from public assistance.
"This is a unique window right now in the next few weeks, where people really are going to allow themselves some space to focus on some of these urban issues that are solvable, and why aren't we doing more,” said Mary Brosnahan of the Coalition for the Homeless.
“Section 8 is a program that you can have that can grow with you, so I don't have to feel like I have to stay in this,” said Bernadette Miles, a former shelter resident. “I want to be able to two or three years from now not need assistance at all, that's where I want to be, but I need help to get there."
Just a week ago the group said the city is at risk of running out of beds for single men and women. But the Department of Homeless Services says shelters are equipped to meet the rising demand.
"We're meeting the demand every day in record time,” said DHS Commissioner Robert Hess. “No one sleeps on the floor at path. Everyone who comes in today will be housed today."
Hess also says the bad economy is to blame for the growing need for shelter, not the mayor's policies.