According to a March 14, 2016, article entitled, “NYC Homeless Would Rather Risk the Street Than Hellish Shelter System,” the New York Daily News obtained records that show, “that in 2015, there were 1,687 so-called ‘critical incidents’ in the city’s shelters. That’s about five a day or 32 a week.”
Officer.com defines a “critical incident” as “any event that has a stressful impact sufficient enough to overwhelm the usually effective coping skills of an individual. Critical incidents are abrupt, powerful events that fall outside the range of ordinary human experiences.”
“The rich got richer- everyone else started falling behind economically. Just when you would not expect that to come with a huge increase in the cost of housing. Guess what? The cost of housing skyrocketed. Even after the great recession, the cost of housing skyrocketing in this city. Those unfortunately were the building blocks of this crisis. So, the fact is, the reality of homelessness in this city changed profoundly; it became much more an ecomonic reality. But the city’s approach to homelessness didn’t change- didn’t recognize these new realities.” -Mayor De Blasio
Although New York City is known an a “melting pot” and is said to be “ethnically diverse,” only two ethnicities dominate the New York City shelter system. African-Americans and Latinos comprise almost 90% of shelter residents.
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, “approximately 58% of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31% are Latino, 8% are white, less than 1% are Asian-American, and 3% are of unknown race/ethnicity.”
This year, Brooklyn has been declared “the most unaffordable housing market in America.” Statistics declare that a Brooklyn household that brings in an income of $833 a week (Brooklyn’s reported median household income according to the New York Daily News) would have to spend 98% of that income to be able to live in a median priced house in Brooklyn.