NEW YORK: It is America’s biggest city, home to world-famous sights from the Empire State Building to Broadway.For many it is synonymous with the American Dream.
But that is only one face of New York.
The other is the estimated 75,000 people, according to US Department of Housing and Urban Development figures, who are homeless in the Big Apple.
The Coalition for the Homeless, a non-profit organization, says that in recent years homelessness in the city has hit its highest levels since the 1930s Great Depression.
New York City Hall counts its numbers slightly differently, but either way, the homelessness issue is a growing embarrassment for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who stands accused by some of underestimating the scale of the problem.
Gilbert Taylor, commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, became the latest high-ranking official to pay the price for failing to get a grip on what many New Yorkers say is a growing legion of homeless people in the city.
Another official resigned in September. “It is a problem that now goes back in this city, 30 and 40 years,” de Blasio said, defending his record on the homeless and warning that “this will be a long fight, this is a challenge that will not be solved easily.”