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Most Brooklynites support homeless shelters in their neighborhoods, poll finds

April 23, 2019 Noah Goldberg
A new poll found that a majority of Brooklynites support homeless shelters opening in their neighborhoods. AP Photo/Seth Wenig.
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A majority of Brooklynites agree that more needs to be done to combat homelessness in the city — and they support building homeless shelters in their own neighborhoods to meet that goal, a newly released poll found.

The poll, conducted by the groups Win and HarrisX, surveyed over 1,000 New Yorkers on homelessness in the city, including more than 100 Brooklyn residents.

“Until now, we thought there was a huge amount of controversy around solutions to the homelessness crisis,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Win and former City Council Speaker.

Win — formerly Women in Need — provides housing and services for homeless people.

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“New Yorkers don’t agree on much, but the poll shows that New Yorkers believe we should do more to solve the problem of homelessness and they are willing to do their part, in their own neighborhoods.”

The poll’s findings suggest that despite some neighborhood residents’ opposition to homeless shelters in their communities, Brooklynites overall support the idea.

About 58,500 people sleep each night in the city’s shelter system, according to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS). In 2017 and 2018, this number steadied for the first time in a decade, according to a DHS spokesperson.

Sixty-two percent of the Brooklyn residents polled support the idea of a homeless shelter opening in their neighborhood. An even higher 92 percent believe that shelter should be provided to all New Yorkers who need it.

The numbers citywide were similar. Fifty-nine percent of New Yorkers said they support the idea of a homeless shelter opening in their neighborhood.

“It is heartening to hear that so many New Yorkers understand and support the need for more shelters for our homeless neighbors,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless.

But Routhier believes that shelter is only a temporary solution, and called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to build more permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers.

“The only real solution to record homelessness in New York City is more affordable housing,” Routhier said.

The Coalition for the Homeless has called on the mayor to build 24,000 new units of housing for homeless New Yorkers, Routhier said.

Correction (5:20 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that over 63,000 people sleep in the city’s homeless shelters every night. That number is attributed to the Coalition for the Homeless, not the Department of Homeless Services.


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