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Survey Shows NYC Homeless Population Up By Nearly 40 Percent From Last Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city's own annual survey has found that despite efforts by the de Blasio administration, the number of people sleeping on the streets of New York City is up by nearly 40 percent from last year.

The Department of Homeless Services announced that the federally-mandated Homeless Outreach Population Estimate taken on Feb. 6 found 3,892 homeless people on the streets – 39 percent more than last year, but 11 percent fewer than the first count in 2005.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, Giselle Ruthier of the Coalition for the Homeless said it is what New Yorkers have been seeing.

"We know that there are thousands of people on the streets and what we need is solutions to match the scale of the need, so we need housing with support services for people who have mental illness, substance abuse issues," Ruthier said. "A lot of people who are living on the streets struggle with severe disabilities, so they really need that permanent supportive housing with extra services in order to get them off the streets and into housing."

She adds the city and state need to up their games.

"Both the mayor and the governor have made commitments to supportive housing and that's what we need now to come on as quickly as possible," Ruthier said.

The department said of those surveyed, there were 1,737 currently street homeless people known to the city's HOME-STAT outreach teams and on the city's first ever comprehensive by-name list. The department said teams are working to engage those people and transition them off the streets.

The department also noted that this year's survey was taken during a particularly warm winter, and amid a continued housing affordability crisis in New York and nationwide.

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