Homeless reaches record 60,000 in New York

Homeless reaches record 60,000 in New York
A homeless person sleeps on the sidewalk during a snow storm in New York.

NEW YORK - New York may be famous abroad for glitz, glamour and Park Avenue billionaires but America's biggest city has passed a grim milestone - a record 60,000 people are homeless.

In November, there were 60,352 homeless people in the city, including 25,000 children, an increase of nearly 10 per cent on the 53,615 who were homeless in January 2014, according to the website for charity Coalition for the Homeless.

Patrick Markee, deputy executive director for Advocacy Coalition for the Homeless, said the "historic homelessness crisis" in New York had worsened since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014.

He blamed the city's acute housing affordability crisis, policies of previous mayor Michael Bloomberg and failures in restoring permanent housing assistance for homeless families and children.

On Tuesday in his state of the city address, de Blasio made affordable housing a key promise of his administration in 2015.

"We commit to ending chronic veterans homelessness by the end of this year. Those who fight to protect our freedom abroad should never be left without a home," he said.

He also promised 10,000 affordable housing units for the elderly - who "deserve to retire in dignity" and people on fixed incomes with little recourse when housing costs go up."

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