New York City’s well-documented homelessness problem appears to only be getting worse. According to Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, over the past two years, the number of homeless individuals in the City rose from 35,500 to 43,000, while the number of homeless children grew from 14,500 to 17,000. Cohen argues that while poverty is partially responsible for homelessness, “within the city of New York it is also caused by an insufficient supply of affordable housing for the working poor.”

According to the NYC Rent Guidelines board, Mayor Bloomberg’s $8.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan will provide affordable housing for 500,000 individuals, but Cohen says it’s not enough, and is demanding “creative and aggressive government action” on the issue. “At one time New York had tenements and nearby factories where the working poor could work and live,” Cohen writes, “but today all of that is gone. Bodegas have given way to Starbucks and tenements to luxury high rises.”

(Photo: Euran Slorach/Flickr)