New York, NY —
An ambitious plan to bring down the level of homelessness in New York City is falling short, according to an assessment issued today by the Independent Budget Office.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg set a goal of reducing homelessness by 2/3 as of 2009. While the city has made some progress in reducing the number of homeless people living on city streets, the number of homeless families is on the rise. At a press conference this morning Mayor Bloomberg defended the city's record.
BLOOMBERG: Part of that may very well be because we've improved the shelter system. If you remember you used to have to go to an intake center and sleep on benches overnight. That doesn't happen anymore.
REPORTER: The city's plan was to spend more money on homeless prevention programs and less on shelters. According to the IBO analysis spending on prevention efforts has gone up from about $160 million to more than $190 million since 2004. Shelter costs of gone up to, from about $563 million to $603 million.