• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Blue state’s homeless crisis deepens as migrants continue to flood city: advocate

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 4, 2024

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Homelessness continued its upward trend last year, with California and New York having the largest populations of homeless individuals, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The crisis demands drastically new solutions, an advocate tells Fox News Digital.

“Let 2024 be the year that we come up with new solutions, new thinking, new paradigm shifts, and I believe it can happen,” said Jim Killoran, the CEO of The Fuller Center for Housing of Greater New York City, a faith-driven nonprofit that works to provide shelter to those in need. 

Killoran spoke to Fox News Digital about how homelessness has increased in New York, and said the issue will likely only worsen for the Empire State as immigrants flood the U.S. border and make their way to northern states. 

Annual data published by HUD shows that New York is the state with the second-largest homeless population as of 2023, with 103,200 homeless individuals. 

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Homeless woman seated with cardboard "please help" sign

New York is the state with the second-largest homeless population as of 2023, with 103,200 homeless individuals. (Viviane Moos/Corbis via Getty Images)

The study, called the Point-In-Time count report, records the number of individuals living on the streets or in shelters on a single night in January 2023. The federal government data is just a snapshot of homelessness, often offering an incomplete view as it’s difficult to locate each homeless individual in a city and state. 

California again claimed the top spot as the state with the largest homeless population, at 181,399 people, or 28% of the U.S.’s total homeless population, the federal government data show.  

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The data found that four states account for more than half of the U.S.’s total homeless population: California, New York, Florida and Washington. 

New York and California saw the largest absolute increases in homelessness in 2023 compared to the year prior, recording an additional 29,022 and 9,878 people, respectively. 

Homeless man asleep on subway station bench, train passes behind him

Four states account for more than half of the U.S. homeless population: California, New York, Florida and Washington. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images )

New Hampshire and New Mexico took the two top spots for states seeing the largest percentage increases in homelessness between 2022 and 2023, recording 52% and 50% increases, respectively. New York and Colorado tied for third place in regard to percentage increases in homeless populations, at 39%, the data show. 

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The data collected in New York City includes migrants who flooded the city last year – and have continued making their way to the Big Apple – accounting “for more than 30% of the increase in sheltered homelessness in New York City,” according to the study. 

Killoran said homelessness in New York has always been an issue, but is now compounded by open border policies that have led to an influx of migrants who often have no place to live when they arrive in the city. 

People sleeping on streets of New York City

Migrants wait in a long line overnight hoping to receive placement in a shelter, Dec. 6, 2023, in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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“No one should go to bed at night without a decent place to live. I mean, it’s a commonsense statement. But we’ve accepted homelessness. Now, we’re accepting just everyone coming over without a place to live, which makes absolutely no sense,” he said. 

More than 157,600 migrants have arrived in New York City since last spring, according to city data, many of whom have been bussed to the Empire State from southern border states. The city has a decades-old “right to shelter” rule that requires the city to provide housing for anyone who requests it. Mayor Eric Adams this week said the requirement should not apply to the migrant crisis, and has previously said the immigration crisis “will destroy New York City.” 

Killoran argued that a handful of variables helped drive homelessness in the state ahead of the influx of migrants, including the city prioritizing building luxury high-rises, the wildly expensive cost of housing in the city and surrounding area, and NYC ending single-room occupancy housing. 

Now, with migrants also on the streets, Killoran is calling for change and for everyone from residents to politicians to start tossing out ideas that can actually improve the state’s homelessness issues. He cited how New York City was able to build COVID-compliant restaurants “overnight” during the pandemic, and could take the same initiative and ideas to build housing for the homeless. 

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He rattled off that constructing small houseboats, building tiny homes, converting empty commercial buildings into housing, rebuilding single-room occupancy housing, using empty shipping containers for housing, and even creating “new towns” could help alleviate the numbers of homeless individuals on the streets. 

Migrants in line behind metal barricade in New York City

People, mainly from West African countries, line up outside the former St. Brigid School to apply for shelter, in New York City on Dec. 7, 2023. (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

Upon hearing the news of Harvard President Claudine Gay’s resignation in light of accusations and plagiarism and her handling of antisemitism this week, Killoran added that Ivy League schools could even take just a percentage of their massive multibillion-dollar endowments to build homes. 

“Harvard teaching a course on poverty is like a drug dealer teaching a course on it. They could build everyone a house in this country with their endowment,” he said. He also took issue with churches that turn away the homeless despite “saying they care” about the issue. 

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“But the number one thing is stop the immigration,” he said, noting that America is made up of immigrants and that he hopes every person is able to build the best life the nation has to offer, but that the system is already strained by homeless Americans. 

He added that the number of senior citizens living on the streets has also increased, including in New Rochelle, which is located right outside New York City in Westchester County. 

New York City skyline

The sun rises on the skyline of midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building in New York City on Dec. 12, 2023, as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. (Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

“The crisis for seniors in housing is increasing in this area significantly. I go to get coffee at the local gas station, a homeless person is sleeping outside the door in New Rochelle,” he told Fox News Digital. “More and more are burdened by high prices of utilities, food, rent, creating the perfect storm.” 

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The HUD data found that across the nation, 20 of every 10,000 people lacked housing in 2023, or roughly 653,100 people. Homelessness increased by 12% across the U.S. last year, the data show, and found the “the highest number of people reported as experiencing homelessness on a single night since reporting began in 2007.”

Killoran said that in light of migration and homelessness spiking, 2024 should serve as the year policies and plans are implemented to curb the increases – and that no idea is too small to pitch.

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