City Limits: In Confronting Family Homelessness, Candidates Asked to Think Beyond Housing


March 4, 2021

Over the seven years Bill de Blasio has been mayor, the number of children in the New York City homeless shelter system has fallen by 25 percent. The number of single adults has risen by 82 percent.

In 2014, there were twice as many children as single adults in the shelter census but as of Feb. 24, single adults comprised a slightly larger share (35 percent) of the system than kids (32 percent).

And during this COVID-19 year, it’s single adults—especially those who were sent to live in the Upper West Side’s Lucerne Hotel—who dominated headlines.

It’s enough to wonder if the homelessness issue confronting 2021 candidates is a wholly different beast from what greeted de Blasio. In the days before he became mayor, The New York Times belatedly shined a light on the family homelessness crisis that had exploded under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The star of that series, Dasani Coates, was on the stage at City Hall as de Blasio took the oath of office.

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