New York

Homeless Children In NYC Shelters Rises To 19,000, Near Great Depression Highs


City records show the number of homeless children living in New York City shelters rose to a staggering 19,000 last week, The Daily News reports.

Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless said, "Not since the grim days of the Great Depression has New York City had 20,000 children sleeping homeless each night."

The new report parallels the city's overall rise in the number of homeless, which topped 41,000 people in October-- the first time the city exceeded the 40,000 mark.

Homeless advocates have long criticized the Bloomberg administration for controversial budget cuts to programs, such as Advantage.

Some also say Mayor Bloomberg is out of touch with the grave realities surrounding homelessness.

In August, Mayor Bloomberg raised eyebrows when he said New York city shelters offer a "much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before" and implicitly blamed them for overcrowding because individuals do not want to leave the shelter system.

A recent profile of a 9-year-old girl living in a Manhattan homeless shelter provided a vastly different perspective. The girl and her mother, having been relocated to a shelter in uptown Manhattan, struggled to wake up at 4:45AM every morning to avoid being late for school in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

But despite their efforts, Whitnee Layne said her daughter was at the risk of being suspended because no matter how much they tried to arrive on time, the difficult commute was just too much.

Layne's daughter N-Dia told The New York Times, "I get upset when I can’t go to school and I get behind. I go to school to learn, and if I am not there they learn without me, and that hurts my feelings because I don’t know what to do the next day and I am embarrassed.”

The surge in homeless youth numbers has also played out on the national scale. In June, the U.S Education Department revealed the number of homeless students reached an unprecedented one million by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

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