Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Homelessness in New York City at an All-Time High - Similar Situation in London

On the BBC News, March 8th, 2015, Nick Bryant reported that New York has been facing the lowest temperatures for decades and also the highest numbers of homeless people.

He reported that in Park Avenue the disparities of wealth are as extreme as the weather. In the report a homeless ex call centre worker was interviewed, now jobless, homeless and living on the street.  They also showed an elderly man who suffered with diabetes as well as a nervous condition in his legs, exacerbated by temperatures as low as minus 17. Minus 17?  Good god, that chills my blood just thinking about it.  A desperately ill man on the streets so ill an ambulance had to rescue him twice. What has this world come to when one of the richest countries in the world thinks that this is acceptable?  The New York City homeless population has reached an all time high, with more than 60,000 people and 25,000 of them children.  60,000 is about the size of Taunton or Hereford.

They interviewed one woman with three children, ironically working in the financial sector, but who could not afford the high rents of New York and so was forced to live in temporary sheltered accommodation.

Nick Bryant went on to report that Manhattan has the biggest income gap in America and the rich are pricing the poor out of the housing market.  An era of stagnant wages has coincided with an era of spiralling rents and this has created a chronic shortage of affordable accommodation.

This is New York today and this is London today where exactly the same thing is happening.  It is one of the biggest scandals of our time.

An article published in February 2014 (link below) reported that Shelter received around 1000 calls between July and December 2013 "the largest volume the charity has ever had to deal with". The government data showed more than 4,400 households were declared homeless in just three months, a 13 % increase on the previous year.



  1. New York is where they first brought in workfare in the US in 1995, getting rat race victims to clean public parks and streets, they also did it early in Wisconsin. The US has lots of overly tough restrictions such as limiting basic benefit to just 99 weeks, disability benefit is apparently slightly greater than the UK.

    1. Yes, that's very true, Asterick. In fact those ideas of IDS have been transported over here even though the Wisconsin Model failed over there. They did an experiment but it didn't work. It is worse here because they knew it didn't work but still imported it.