By J. D. Heyes, contributing writer to Natural News
The homeless population in the nation’s largest city has exploded to an all-time high, forcing officials to provide shelter to desperate families in dilapidated tenements that have been identified by housing authorities as dangerous.
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived at City Hall following his election on promises to turn the desperation around, but in reality, reports the Daily News, he has had difficulty addressing an age-old problem that has only gotten worse during the Obama years.
The paper, on its website, reported that, by mid-December, NYC’s homeless population had swollen to a record 59,068, or larger than the populations of scores of mid-sized cities around the country. One organization, the Coalition for the Homeless, told the paper that its homeless count was higher, at 60,352.
As the Daily News further reported:
The homeless count, according to the city and the coalition, includes 25,000 children. And it represents a 10% jump from the 53,615 in shelters on de Blasio’s Inauguration Day.
To reduce these distressing numbers, the city has tried to move families into scarce permanent housing, but has been forced to continue using much-criticized apartments known as “cluster sites.”
As a mayoral candidate, de Blasio promised to end use of the clusters, many of which were derided often as being riddled with code violations like lead paint, collapsing ceilings, broken heating/cooling systems and being infested with vermin.
But despite de Blasio’s promises, the city has actually grown the number of cluster units, adding nearly 8 percent in 2014 alone, from 2,918 to 3,143. The 225-unit increase was less than the 1,150 units added by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his final two years in office, but critics of the units had been hoping that de Blasio would implement a full turnaround. He has not, and what’s more, problems with the units are persisting.
A Daily News and Columbia Journalism School’s New York World computer analysis discovered that, as of Dec. 31, there were two serious housing code violations per apartment at about 27 current cluster sites.
That figure included at least 10 buildings with three or more serious violations per apartment. One building — a 20-unit red brick tenement located on President St. in Crown Heights — had almost five open violations per unit by the last day of 2014.
The paper and the journalism school study found that, since then, some buildings have cleared some of the violations, but others have even more.
The Daily News further reported:
These violations plague the aging tenement buildings where about a dozen nonprofit groups hired by the city choose to locate tenants.
Buildings leased by the biggest providers — including the Bushwick Economic Development Corp., Acacia Network and Camba Inc. — have accumulated hundreds of open-code violations, records show.
None of the groups returned calls seeking comment.
11 Kids, 1 Bathroom, 1 Long Walk to School
What’s more, the paper said, all of those nonprofits collect millions of dollars per year from the city’s taxpayers, as well as state and federal taxpayers, all while placing many families in bug-ridden units with peeling paint, crumbling plaster and iffy heating conditions.
In sum, the joint study identified 6,767 major code violations in 224 NYC-funded cluster sites spread across the city’s five boroughs as of Dec. 31.
As you can imagine, the residents of these dilapidated dwellings are speaking out. Dana Hollis, a 48-year-old single mother, told the News that being placed in a 50-unit building in the Bronx that has 63 open code violations that are considered serious has been an unmitigated disaster.
Eleven of her 12 children live in the three-bedroom apartment. They all sleep in bunk beds and must share one bathroom. Six her children are still in public school near where she used to live in Brooklyn; she gets up at 4:30 to get them ready by 6:15 to head out the door for the 80-minute trek to school.