NEW YORK (AP) “Bizarre, but not surprising,” says Michael Tulloch, the New York City housing czar.
And there’s reason for concern: In his first year as mayor, Mr. Tullos first year, the city saw a 5 percent increase in homeless encampments, more than the national average of 2.7 percent.
“That is a huge, huge number,” says Tulloc, the president of Housing First, a nonprofit housing organization that’s working to end the practice of people living in homeless camps in the city.
The trend of encampments is nothing new.
It’s been happening for decades.
It started in the early 1990s with the rise of the crack cocaine epidemic and its associated homeless encampment.
In 2005, there were about 2,200 encampments around the country, and the count in New Yorkers increased by 40 percent in the first five months of the year, according to the nonprofit ShelterNet.
In the last decade, it’s become even more of a problem, as the city and its suburbs have been grappling with an explosion of young people who are fleeing to other cities to escape violence and poverty.
In 2014, the homeless population in NewYork City surpassed 4 million, according the city’s homeless department.
But there’s a reason why this number has spiked in recent years.
There are now roughly 8,600 homeless encampations in New york, more often than in Los Angeles, which is about 3,400 a year, shelter advocates say.
The numbers in Newyork are especially high.
The number of people sleeping on the streets in New New York is nearly twice the national rate.
Homelessness in the capital has soared more than 50 percent since the year 2000, according for the city, and that number is projected to increase by 40-fold over the next 15 years.
That’s despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to end encampments and his tough stance against the practice.
And that’s partly because of the citywide “Operation End the Camp” program that began in 2013.
The city launched the program after the city-wide homeless crisis.
Homeless people living on the street can receive financial help and other services, but the vast majority of the people receiving help are on the margins of society.
That includes many of the kids who sleep in their parents’ basements, homeless people who can’t afford to move into permanent housing, and people who have been evicted.
It also includes people who live on the city streets because they’ve been evictions or because they were caught up in the war on drugs, or simply because they don’t have much to lose, says Jennifer Zellner, the executive director of New York Communities United, a group that advocates for the homeless.
“It’s a way for New York to connect to its most vulnerable populations, particularly those living on street corners and in shelters,” Zellners says.
For the city to have a real impact, Zellers says, the program has to stop and people need to be helped.
“We have to stop the violence, we have to start taking people out of their homes and we have have to begin helping them to get back into their lives,” she says.
New York City’s homeless program is called Operation End the Tent citywide.
The program has been in place since 2013.
In 2017, it increased to include homeless camps, which has led to a surge in encampments in the past few years.
The homeless encampement population in Manhattan has jumped by about 50 percent, the most in the nation.
Homeless camp is the largest segment of New Yorkers homelessness, according ShelterNet, a nationwide nonprofit that advocates against homelessness.
ShelterNet estimates that about 3.6 million people live on street corner in New Jersey, California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas.
New York has about 8,000 homeless encampers, and Zell and other advocates say that’s a very large number.
But there are problems with the way the program is being run.
The housing commissioner’s office says that some of the homeless camps are illegal and that the homeless shelter is illegal.
Zell also said that homeless shelters are being set up illegally.
And the shelters are not in public spaces.
And, of course, there are a number of problems with how the shelters operate, says Zell, which she says are being addressed by the city as it continues to expand its shelter program.
Zell says the city needs to change how the homeless program operates.
“I believe the solution is to get out of the tent and into the community,” she said.
“The solution is not to set up these camps.
It is to help these people find permanent housing.”