(DNAINFO) Jeff Mays — The city is not headed back to the “bad old days” of high crime and lawlessness despite recent controversies over an increased homeless population and aggressive panhandlers in Times Square, MayorBill de Blasio said Tuesday.
“We’ve got to end this madness of talking about the bad old days,” the mayor said during an appearance on the Brian Lehrer Show. “They’re gone, they’re over.”
The number of homeless people in shelters is 56,000, down from a 59,000 record high in December. There were 53,000 people in shelter when Mayor Michael Bloomberg left office. Calls to 311 about the homeless have also jumped 60 percent during de Blasio’s 20 months in office.
“The difference today versus, say 10 or 15 years ago, is that many more people are homeless for economic reasons,” de Blasio said. “They literally cannot afford the cost of housing in this city. The wages that they have made don’t keep up with the cost of living.”