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21K NYC Kids Spent January in Homeless Shelter

Crisis at its worst since Great Depression: advocate
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2013 2:46 PM CST
21K NYC Kids Spent January in Homeless Shelter
April Gayles, center, with her children Angelina, left, and Nicholas, 6, playing nearby, are seen Oct. 3, 2012 in New York. Gayles is a stylist who became homeless shortly after moving to the city.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – As the sheer number of homeless people grows in cities like New York, the shape of the problem is changing: More of America's homeless are now families, the Wall Street Journal reports. On a national scale, their numbers grew 1.4% between 2011 and 2012, while individual cities also saw increases: Boston's 1,166 homeless families in December of last year marked a 7.8% increase from 2011, and Washington, DC, saw an 18% jump over the period.

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New York City, meanwhile, is "facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression," says an advocate. Homeless shelters there housed an average of 11,984 families a night this January, while more than 21,000 children spent every night that month in a shelter. The latter marks a record 1% of New York youth, and the figure is up 22% from a year before, a report finds. Longer-term, New York has seen its number of homeless families soar 73% since 2002, thanks in part to the financial and mortgage crises. (Read more homeless stories.)

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