There are more than 41,000 New Yorkers living in the city's homeless shelters — the highest number ever, according to to a new report from the Coalition for the Homeless.
The group said 17,000 children sleep in shelters each night and that shelter stays are getting longer. Homeless families now spend an average of 11 months in the shelter system, up from 8 months a year ago.
The report is based on city data on the shelter population at the end of October, but that number fluctuates daily. The report found the rise is due to the end of a city program that provided housing subsidies to homeless families.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city is being squeezed by the lack of federal funds and that economic problems are growing.
"Fewer resources from Washington, from state and city coffers and we’re going to have to do the best we can," Bloomberg said Wednesday. "The intent is to make sure no one sleeps in the street,"
Homeless single adults will have to prove they have no place to go in order to stay in a city shelter starting next Monday.
The decision to implement the policy – which is already in place for homeless families – came after it became apparent that some adults seeking shelter had alternate options, the Department of Homeless Services said.
The Coalition for the Homeless says that under Bloomberg, the total homeless shelter population has increased 33 percent.