New York homelessness-compressed Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr

This week, the de Blasio administration announced positive numbers concerning the city’s homeless population. Since July 2014, 52,777 individuals have exited city shelters and about 36 percent of these individuals used the de Blasio administration’s newly created rental assistance programs and pathways.

In 2011, the City cut Advantage, a rental assistance program that helped move families out of shelters and into permanent housing, after the State withdrew funding. The City feared that the homeless family population would increase by 51 percent as a result of the cuts.

In the last few years, the city has taken steps to combat the manifestation of that prediction by prioritizing anti-homelessness spending in the budget, as well as by working with nonprofit and faith-based groups.

To support Department of Homeless Services initiatives, the de Blasio administration’s budget to address homelessness will increase by $1 billion over the next four years, from $5 billion to $6 billion. This supports moving individuals from streets to shelter and from shelter to permanent housing as well as preventing people from losing housing in the first place.

Since July 2014, 91,906 individuals have already enrolled in HomeBase, a homelessness prevention program that supports households through tenant protection programs and anti-eviction legal services.

And by this winter, Cardinal Timothy Dolan committed to using Diocese resources to provide 150 beds with social services for street homeless individuals.

Mayor de Blasio said there is still more work to be done. “As rents are skyrocketing and wages remain stagnant, too many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet and still end up in shelter, and we are aggressively working to help these families and individuals exit shelter.”

As of Monday, 57,762 individuals were counted in the City’s shelter census.

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