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Coalition For The Homeless Report Finds State, Local Policies Made Things Worse For Single Homeless Adults

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The pandemic has led to a record number of single adults sleeping in New York City's homeless shelters.

The Coalition for the Homeless released its annual report Wednesday and found that political leaders could do more.

Homeless outreach teams dispersed an encampment on 41st Street near 10th Avenue on Wednesday.

CBS2 has been told those living there were provided notice to gather their belongings, with the rest going into a dumpster.

But only one out of the five or six at the encampment accepted help.

It's evidence of the complexity of a problem that's been exacerbated by the pandemic.

"The number of homeless single adults continues to skyrocket. We're hitting new records almost every single day," said Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.

In a new report, the Coalition for the Homeless says state and local policies made things worse, especially for single homeless adults who often cycle between medical facilities, prison and the shelter system.

Concerns also include a lack of resources for homeless students, some of whom still do not have Wi-Fi to participate in remote learning.

"People who are living unsheltered on the streets are still being criminalized, vilified and unable to access the services and even the basic essentials to survival that they need," Giffen said.

But the Department of Social Services pushed back, saying in part: "…our strategies, including the use of commercial hotels, our proactive testing program, and now our ongoing vaccination efforts, worked and continue to save lives."

This comes as the influx of homeless individuals in some communities are said to be diminishing residents' quality of life.

"What do you tell residents who find this to be really, really problematic?" CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas asked Giselle Routhier, policy director for Coalition for the Homeless.

"The reason that this person is where they are is because they are unable to get access to housing because it's not affordable to them," Routhier said.

That's why the Coalition is advocating for an increase stock of affordable units and the removal of the red tape to accessing it.

It's a long-standing problem advocates say can be fixed with more state and local collaboration.

In the new report, the city received high marks for its emergency food distribution program and the assistance given to homeless families.

CBS2 reached out to the governor's office but did not hear back.


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