WITH over 58,000 people in our shelter system every night, and thousands more sleeping on the streets, concern about homelessness in New York City has reached a fever pitch. We must attack this challenge on every front: through construction of more housing with on-site services, expanded federal support for homeless families and improvements in city-run shelters.
But the best solution to homelessness is preventing it before it even occurs.
More than two-thirds of the people in our shelters are families with vulnerable children, and the most common cause of their homelessness isn’t drug dependency or mental illness. It’s eviction. If we can slow the pace of evictions, we will make a major dent in the homelessness crisis.
Evictions have reached epidemic proportions in New York City. The number of families forced from their homes by court order has been rising steadily for the last 10 years, and is now close to 29,000 per year. Countless thousands more are leaving under duress midway through eviction proceedings. Many end up with nowhere to go and are forced to turn to homeless shelters.
– New York Times