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This report to the National Governor's Association Task Force on Homeless People considers the scale of the homeless problem in America, looks at homelessness in America from a historical perspective, presents profiles of several homeless people, and describes Governor Cuomo's national policy for overcoming homelessness. Governor Cuomo cites unemployment, the scarcity of affordable housing, deinstitutionalization, and cutbacks in social services as the main causes of homelessness. The report states that in New York City the estimates of psychiatric problems among homeless people range from 20 to 60%. In Phoenix this estimate was placed at 20% and in Boston, 39.5%. These estimates were conducted within each city, not nationally, and vary in terms of sample size and method. At the state level, Governor Cuomo feels the following issues are in need of review and possible revamping: adequacy of the number and quality of emergency shelters for single men and women; adequacy of existing regulation, and enforcement procedures to ensure minimal levels of decency in shelters; adequacy of discharge planning and aftercare including residential placement; and adequacy of fairness in current housing policies. At the federal level, Governor Cuomo proposes the creation of a national commission to identify existing problems and solutions (Authors).
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services