NYC's homeless epidemic comes at a high price

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How To Tackle Homelessness In New York City


The homeless epidemic is not new to New York City. There are currently 57,000 homeless people living in shelters in the city right now, almost a record high. The reasons behind homelessness differ -- rent hikes, unemployment, illness, and a hundred other complex issues -- but according to a recent report by the Independent Budget Office, housing them doesn't come cheap.

The report cites that budgets are becoming increasingly tapped as the cost of housing homeless people in shelters continues to rise. The state says that spending for the shelters has increased 62 percent in just the past eight years -- from $604 million in 2007 to an estimated $976 million in 2015.



The report also notes that the average length of a stay for a family with children in a shelter has increased from 292 days in 2007 to 427 days in 2014.

One of the biggest reasons for the shelter spike in the city is the loss of rental assistance program for homeless families, which was eliminated three years ago, according to the report. However, the state is making an active effort to help aid those in need of homes.

See photos of New York City's homeless population:
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NYC's homeless epidemic comes at a high price
People walk past a homeless man asking for money on 14th Street, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. The number of homeless on New York City's streets has increased, prompting breathless media coverage and worries that the "bad old days" are returning to the Big Apple. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: A homeless woman rests while panhandling along Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on May 18, 2015 in New York City. As many parts of once seedy New York City have been transformed into family and shopping friendly environments, 8th Avenue near the Port Authority bus station is one of the last hold-outs to old gritty Manhattan. Last week a man was shot by police after he attacked numerous people with a hammer along a stretch of the street. There is a high police presence along the street and fights and arrests for vagrancy are common. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 6: Pedestrians walk by a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk by a grate in the middle of the day, on May 6, 2015 in New York, N.Y. New York City has a large homeless population. (Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: A homeless teen panhandles on a street near Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on May 18, 2015 in New York City. As many parts of once seedy New York City have been transformed into family and shopping friendly environments, 8th Avenue near the Port Authority bus station is one of the last hold-outs to old gritty Manhattan. Last week a man was shot by police after he attacked numerous people with a hammer along a stretch of the street. There is a high police presence along the street and fights and arrests for vagrancy are common. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: Housing activists march from Zuccotti Park to New York City's City Hall to demand more affordable housing options for the homeless and poor on September 17, 2015 in New York City. Today also marks the four year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: A homeless man pauses along Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on May 18, 2015 in New York City. As many parts of once seedy New York City have been transformed into family and shopping friendly environments, 8th Avenue near the Port Authority bus station is one of the last hold-outs to old gritty Manhattan. Last week a man was shot by police after he attacked numerous people with a hammer along a stretch of the street. There is a high police presence along the street and fights and arrests for vagrancy are common. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: A man panhandles for money and food on April 7, 2015 in New York City. A new report was released today from 'Homes for Every New Yorker' a coalition of activist groups that makes recommendations for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to fight homelessness in the city. The report , which was unveiled at City Hall, advocates that the mayor put aside 10 percent of all units in his affordable housing plan for shelter residents, raise the minimum wage and invest in programs to prevent tenants from falling into homelessness. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, listens to Acacia Network CEO Raul Russ, as he visits a room at the Corona Family Residence, a homeless facility, in the Queens borough of New York, Monday, May 11, 2015. Mayor de Blasio made an announcement on his effort to combat the city's homelessness crisis. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: A person in economic difficulty holds a homemade sign asking for money along a Manhattan street on December 4, 2013 in New York City. According to a recent study by the by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York City's homeless population increased by 13 percent at the beginning of this year. Despite an improving local economy, as of last January an estimated 64,060 homeless people were in shelters and on the street in New York. Only Los Angeles had a larger percentage increase than New York for large cities. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A homeless man rests under a blanket while sitting on a bench in a New York subway station, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Monday night volunteers spread throughout the city to do an annual count of homeless people living on the streets. According to advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless, more than 50,000 people live in municipal homeless shelters, with thousands more living on the streets. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Sean Harris, 45, panhandles on Broadway, Sunday, on Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. Homeless for the last eight years, Harris spent the night before in the LaGuardia airport terminal. Even as the nationâs eyes were fixed on 9/11 commemoration events in Lower Manhattan, it was a day like any other for millions of New Yorkers. (AP Photo/Chris Hawley)
New York City Police Department officers pass a homeless woman sleeping on a bench while patrolling in a 34th Street subway station, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: A homeless man pauses along Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on May 18, 2015 in New York City. As many parts of once seedy New York City have been transformed into family and shopping friendly environments, 8th Avenue near the Port Authority bus station is one of the last hold-outs to old gritty Manhattan. Last week a man was shot by police after he attacked numerous people with a hammer along a stretch of the street. There is a high police presence along the street and fights and arrests for vagrancy are common. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: A homeless man rests in a pew at a Times Square church, where some area homeless take refuge from the cold on December 12, 2013 in New York City. New York and much of New England has been experiencing freezing temperatures with snow expected this weekend. According to a recent study by the by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York City's homeless population increased by 13 percent at the beginning of this year. Despite an improving local economy, as of last January an estimated 64,060 homeless people were in shelters and on the street in New York. Only Los Angeles had a larger percentage increase than New York for large cities. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, file photo, people walk past a homeless man asking for money on 14th Street in New York. One app dots a map with usersâ images of homelessness in New York City. The apps, sites and social media accounts have spiraled out of a season of anxiety and frustration about rising homelessness in the nationâs biggest city. And they are igniting questions about technology, tolerance and citizenship in an age of crowdsourcing. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
A homeless man holds a sign asking for money while resting at the entrance to a subway station, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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Mayor Bill DeBlasio has set up an estimated $1 billion to help end homelessness in New York City over the next four years. Gothamist reports that his administration has also spent $180 million in the last year to help 53,000 households pay back their rent and avoid eviction, more than $124 million than the year before.

A spokesperson for the Mayor's Office emphasized to Gothamist that the city is legally required to provide shelter to homeless people. They also said that in the long run, it would be cheaper to fund pro bono housing lawyers and temporary rental assistance than to shovel money into the shelter system.


Watch below to find out more about the complex reasons behind homelessness:
Why are 60,000 Homeless in New York?


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