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A record 50,000 people on average slept in city shelters this January, according to this new report by the Coalition for the Homeless. Over that same period, 1 percent of the city's youth - or 21,000 kids - spent the night in shelters, a 22 percent increase over the past year. Homeless families now spend over a year in shelters on average.
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Advocates say outdated laws and government funding cuts are making it harder for one of New York's most overlooked populations â€” homeless young people at risk for sexual exploitation and human trafficking â€” to get the help they need.
That was the message from the leaders of youth outreach programs who testified today at a hearing convened by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Westchester County and the chair of the Committee on Children and Families.
The goal of the hearing was to examine the current system in place to help homeless young people and to discuss how to handle the lack of funding for assistance program.
Under the current budget, $1.5 million in funding provides homeless children with safe shelter and short-term or long-term housing and guidance.
While these programs are in place and have been proven to work, the recent funding cuts have only led to a decrease in the number of young people that are able to receive the assistance they need.