18:29 GMT12 April 2021
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    A multitude of factors contribute to the recent spike in New York City’s homeless population, but three factors stand out as exerting greatest influence, Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The Coalition for the Homeless is the oldest non-profit advocacy group in the United States that assists the homeless, according to the organization’s website.

    "[The factors include] rising rents, an ever-tightening housing market and stagnating wages at the lowest end of the income spectrum," Routhier said.

    On Monday, the New York City Department of Homeless Services reported that more than 57,000 individuals slept in New York City homeless shelters. The number of homeless is 2,000 less than a record high reported in December 2014.

    "The homeless shelter population increased consistently since 2006, after homeless families were cut off from accessing federal housing resources, such as public housing and Section 8 [funds], under [former Mayor] Michael Bloomberg."

    Moreover, the number of homeless increased most in 2011 following funding cuts to rental subsidies under the authority of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    The Coalition for the Homeless is consequently calling on Governor Cuomo to take the lead in renewing funding.

    "It’s imperative that the governor provide invaluable leadership to forge a city-state partnership to fund 35,000 units of supportive housing in New York State over the next decade," the Coalition stated in a press release.

    The Coalition added that 30,000 of the supportive housing units should be assigned to individuals with significant psychiatric or physical impairments.

    The cost of adult homeless shelters in New York City has surpassed $420 million per year, according to the New York City Mayor’s Office, while annual state assistance only amounts to $69 million.

    "Governor Cuomo must help New York City redouble its investments," the Coalition added.

    A homeless man begs for donations outside a subway station in New York on February 4, 2015
    © AFP 2021 / JEWEL SAMAD
    A homeless man begs for donations outside a subway station in New York on February 4, 2015
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