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Bloomberg Says He Does Not Think Homeless Population Has Risen (New York, NY)
by MICHAEL COOPER - New York Times Monday October 21, 2002 at 09:49 PM

"The homeless on the street, all of the statistics that we have — calls from the community boards, calls to the Community Assistance Unit — say that the numbers are no greater than last year, if anything maybe a little less."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he believed that
the number of homeless people on the city's streets was holding
steady, and possibly declining.

"The homeless on the street, all of the statistics that we have —
calls from the community boards, calls to the Community Assistance
Unit — say that the numbers are no greater than last year, if anything
maybe a little less," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday.

The mayor was responding to an article that appeared yesterday in
The New York Times, reporting that many New Yorkers say they are
seeing more homeless people across the city than they did a year ago.

Mr. Bloomberg said residents may be noticing more homeless people
because the police have increased efforts to secure the city's
bridges and tunnels.

"Part of it may be that people are being moved around because the police,
for security reasons, won't let people sleep in the traditional places,
under
overpasses and in subways, where they did before," Mr. Bloomberg said.

Neither the city nor groups that advocate on behalf of the
homeless keep a tally of the number of transient homeless people
on the city's streets, so it is difficult to say with certainty
whether the population is rising, staying the same or falling.
City officials said they would begin conducting an annual census
of homeless people this winter.

Mayor Bloomberg said that he would continue to focus on
quality-of-life issues in the city, and that Police Commissioner
Raymond W. Kelly had the entire Police Department focusing on
them. "There's absolutely no letup whatsoever," he said.

"We don't think it's a worse problem than it was before, but we
are focusing on it more than ever, and we will continue to do
that," he said. "It's very sad that anybody's on the street, and
I have sympathy for the people, but everybody has a right to go
about their business and none of us want to see people on the street.

Society can do better and we have a commitment to do that."

Copyright The New York Times

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