It costs a lot of money to keep the homeless shelter system's population flat.
Both the City Council and Controller Scott Stringer questioned the precipitously rising budget for the Department of Homeless Services Tuesday, even as the homeless population of about 61,000 New Yorkers has yet to drop.
Councilman Steve Levin said that actual spending for the Department of Homeless Services was $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2016 — and had grown to $2.14 billion in the current fiscal year, after the city twice modified the budget mid-year, twice, to add cash. That's a $700 million jump.
"But we have not seen a significant decrease in the shelter census despite that increase in spending — 50% over what it was in fiscal year 2016," Levin said during a City Council budget hearing on the budgets of the city's welfare agencies.
Levin said the spending was worthy — and that the city had underfunded the system in the past. But he questioned what results the money was getting if the city had the same shelter population — and if those in shelter were still unhappy with conditions.
Simple: hotel rates went up.