NYC's homeless epidemic comes at a high price

How To Tackle Homelessness In New York City
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.

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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:

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?
Why are 60,000 Homeless in New York?

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Originally published