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PR- 255-05
June 30, 2005


With Fewer Homeless Families, City to Close Largest Family Shelter

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Linda Gibbs today announced that from December 2004 to May 2005 the average monthly census of City homeless shelters dropped by 2,379 individuals.  This is the largest decline during any six month period since 1990. The City decreased the number of homeless children by 13%, from 15,766 in May 2004 to 13,770 in May 2005. These results put the Administration ahead of its target for reducing homelessness by two-thirds and allow Mayor Bloomberg to close the Carlton House, the largest family shelter in the City.  This is the first time in DHS history that a facility has been closed solely because the capacity is no longer needed.  The Mayor and Comissioner Gibbs were also joined local area elected officials and Major Guy Klemanski from the Salvation Army of Greater New York.

"A year ago I announced plans to cut homelessness by two-thirds in five years," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Today we are not only on target to meeting that goal, we have thousands fewer children experiencing homelessness in our great City. By investing in cost-efficient solutions, and bringing accountability and focused management attention to an issue many believed unmanageable, we have made unprecedented headway in relatively short order."

In May 2004, the month before the release of Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter, the Administration's plan to end chronic homelessness, the average monthly census was 37,562 individuals. In May 2005, the average monthly census was 34,080, a decrease of 3,482 or 9%.  The average monthly census for children in May 2004 was 15,766. In May 2005, the average monthly census for children was 13,770, a decrease of 1,996 or 13%.

The peak average monthly census for total individuals was 38,591 in November 2003. In May 2005, it had been reduced by 4,511 to 34,080, a 12% reduction. The peak average monthly census for children was 16,863 in July 2003.  In May 2005, it had been reduced by 3,093 to 13,770, an 18% reduction.

Because of the reduction in family homelessness, the Mayor announced the closing of the 335-unit Carlton House Residence, a former hotel in South Ozone Park, Queens. The site was opened on an emergency basis on July 4, 2002, when record numbers of families were applying for shelter.  The administration partnered with the Salvation Army to open and manage the site, which became the largest family shelter in the City's portfolio.

"The Carlton House represents the kind of Band-Aid-style responses that were the rule rather than the exception in years past," said Commissioner Gibbs. "We are enormously thankful to the community and the Salvation Army, which responded with great leadership to help our families. As a result of the Mayor's reform agenda, we are able for the first time in agency history to close a shelter we no longer need."

Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter contains 60 initiatives aimed at increasing prevention services, increasing the supply of rental assistance and supportive housing, and reducing the amount of time individuals and families remain homeless. In addition, the plan aims to reinvest resources now locked in shelter spending into interventions that solve homelessness. In the year since its release, accomplishments include:

  • 3,454 units of supportive housing have been completed or are in HPD's construction and development pipeline;
  • A record 7,078 families were placed into permanent housing in 2004, which is 11% over 20003 and 67% over 2002;
  • DHS opened HomeBase homelessness prevention offices in six of the City's highest need communities;
  • DHS conducted its first-ever citywide count of the street homeless population, estimating 4,395 unsheltered individuals;
  • DHS opened the PATH Family Intake Center, which incorporates recommendations made by a court-appointed panel and where first-time applicant families are assisted in an environment of respect; and
  • The City and State introduced a new rental assistance program, Housing Stability Plus, which has helped more than 2,000 families leave shelter for permanent housing.


Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958

James Anderson   (Homeless Services)
(212) 361-7971

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