The homeless population living on the streets of New York City jumped 23 percent, according to a survey by volunteers for the city’s department of homeless services, the Associated Press reports. The survey takers counted 3,262 people living on the streets on January 20; the year before, they’d counted 2,648. “Decoys trained to appear homeless are placed throughout the city on the night the annual survey is undertaken to test whether volunteers are actually doing their jobs,” the wire service reports. Critics of the survey contend the volunteers undercount the homeless population.
Late last year, the Coalition for the Homeless reported that 41,000 people were using the city’s homeless shelters—the first time that number had exceeded 40,000. (The shelter system has been in use for decades.) Critics hold the Bloomberg administration responsible, after a “controversial policy shift” last year. A 2008 New York Magazine article called homelessness “the single biggest failure of the Bloomberg administration.”
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