Homelessness in New York City has hit a record high, but government officials say those figures could have been much worse.
The number of people living in homeless shelters operated by the Department of Homeless Services is about to surpass 60,000 people for the first time, The New York Daily News reported Friday. But officials say that figure would have reached 67,000 people this year if not for the government’s recent programs, according to a DHS press release.
“Our current programs have substantially slowed the rate of growth in homelessness,” Steven Banks, commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said in a statement.
But even with the “slowed” rate, the current figures mark a 115 percent increase in homelessness over the past two decades, according to DHS.
The Coalition for the Homeless, which works to end homelessness in New York City, said the figure surpassed the 60,000 mark in 2014, but that group calculates its statistics differently.
In addition to DHS safe havens, the Coalition for the Homeless counts stabilization beds, veterans beds and families in Housing Prevention and Development emergency shelters. Doing this helps the numbers “remain consistent over time,” Giselle Routhier, the group’s policy director, told The Huffington Post in an email.