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Advocates Say Homelessness in New York City Has Reached Record Levels

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Coalition for the Homeless says an all-time high number of New Yorkers turned to shelters last year.

The group, which released its annual State of the Homeless report Monday, said a record 113,553 people -- including 42,888 children -- slept in shelters run by New York City in fiscal year 2010. That's an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

The group is calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make greater use of federal housing programs like Section 8 vouchers to move families to permanent homes.

Patrick Markee, a Senior Policy Analyst for the coalition, spoke to 1010 WINS on Monday and directed criticism at Bloomberg's policies.

"More than six years ago, Mayor Bloomberg cut off homeless families in New York City from access to successful federal housing programs, which had been used by every previous mayor from Ed Koch through Rudy Giuliani," he said.

According to Markee, the city does not have a plan in place to move families from the shelters into long-term housing. He added that he believes the city has been unsuccessful in combating the issue by using initiatives like the Advantage program.

"That's a program that's not working and it's a bad deal for taxpayers and homeless kids and families," Markee said.

Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said the coalition is being unrealistic if it expects the city will receive more federal housing subsidies.

He said the city's priority is helping homeless people find jobs.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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