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City Braces For Fight To Place 90 Homeless Shelters Across 5 Boroughs

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Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants to keep homeless people closer to the communities where they come from.

"The people who will be served will be from your community. Every community will take care of their own. And we're going to match the number of folks in shelter to the capacity in the community," de Blasio said.

It is a critical piece of the mayor's new plan to open 90 new homeless shelters throughout the city. 

So data from last October was examined, showing where the nearly 60,000 people in the shelter system had once called home, their last known address.

Each marker represents a community district. The darker the marker, the more people are coming from that area into the shelter system.

The highest number goes to Community Board 5 in Brooklyn covering East New York. More than 2,800 people had entered the system from there. 

Right now, there are not enough shelters in the district to house them all. 

Next comes Community Boards 4 and 5 in Bronx, including West Concourse and Morris Heights. 

They are areas that are full of cluster-site shelters, which are landlord-operated and known for poor conditions. The city has promised to shut them down. 

That means all these areas could get some of the new shelters. 

Other communities with a number of shelters now could get even more, while neighborhoods with fewer people entering the system could get a lot less. 

Take Community Board 12 in Bronx, the northern edge of the borough. 

"The idea that we are not adequately addressing the needs of this board is a little frightening," said George Torres, district manager of Bronx Community Board 12.

There were more than 1,900 people who came into the shelter system from here. But the area only has space for a little more than 1,000 individuals in shelters. 

"I don't want to pit one Bronx community versus another Bronx community. The concern in citing these facilities is, you have some district that are already overburdened. And I feel like Community Board 12 is one of those districts," Torres said.

We do not see this debate ending anytime soon as communties across the city continue to discuss what exactly it means to do their fair share.

Where do the homeless call home

Each marker represents a community district. The darker the marker, the more people are entering the shelter system from that area. Data also includes the amount of homeless individuals currently placed in shelters in that community district. This way, you can see if your community is meeting its current need. 

Data is from October 2016.


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Raymond J. Keating

Raymond J. Keating is the editor and publisher of the Keating Reports, which operates the Long Island Sentinel. He is a writer, commentator and economist, who wrote a column for Newsday for more than a decade, and is now a columnist with Long Island Business News and Dolan Media Company. The views expressed by Keating are strictly his own.