City's homeless system is broken
Jul 23, 2014 | 14432 views | 0 0 comments | 843 843 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With just over 20 homeless shelters in Queens, the city has turned to the second most underserved borough on the map to ramp up their outreach in what has become nothing short of a homelessness crisis.

Since plans for transitional housing facilities have surfaced over the last year, residents have now started flooding their local community boards in a panic to voice their concerns.

In some cases they argue for the sanctity of their community – often threatening to sell their homes or move if a shelter in their neighborhood - while others worry their already overcrowded schools will even further surpass capacity.

In NYC, there are currently 54,667 homeless people on the books – 13,001 homeless families with a reported 23,116 homeless children – and according to the Coalition for the Homeless, that figure is now 75 percent higher than back in January 2002.

In a report from former city Comptroller John Liu back in May 2013, the overall lopsided spread of shelters by borough has put the Bronx at the top with 148, while Brooklyn was close behind with 127.

Meanwhile Queens is the second most populated borough in the city with 2,230,772 people according to the 2010 Census Bureau, undoubtedly a red flag when it comes to serving the homeless population.

Current Comptroller Scott Stringer sent a letter to the Department of Homeless Services last week questioning the current policy of sheltering the homeless, citing a nine percent national decline in homelessness while the city has seen a 51 percent surge.

“DHS must begin to immediately repair its relationships with local communities,” Stringer wrote in the letter. “This process should allow for meaningful input from local leaders, advocacy groups and elected officials.”

While it has been pointed out that Queens is lagging in homeless shelter provenance, it is no excuse for the creation of poorly planned shelters that only look good on paper.

What the city needs is well-executed shelters placed in locations that optimally serve both the residents of the shelters and the residents who are fortunate enough to have a home.

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