New York City lawmakers voted on Thursday to shut down Rikers Island, one of the nation’s most infamous jails, and three other detention centers, as part of an $8 billion plan to open new facilities across the city in its place.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told FOX Business the city should spend the money on providing housing for homeless people.
“You could take some of the facilities on Rikers, turn them into homeless facilities,” he told Maria Bartiromo on Friday. “You know, do things, do creative things with the capacity you have.”
Rikers Island has 10 different jails with the ability to hold to around 15,000 people, he said.
Homelessness in New York City has recently risen to the highest levels since the Great Depression, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. The number of homeless people sleeping in shelters is 67% higher compared to 10 years ago. In June 2019, more than 60,000 homeless, people including roughly 14,000 homeless families were displaced.
Homelessness is not only a problem for New York, but it’s also become a national issue.
According to the Institute of Global Homelessness, an estimated 1.1 billion people live in insufficient housing and more than 100 million people don’t have places to live at all.
In California homelessness has reached a boiling point despite pouring billions into cleanup efforts. Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco lead the nation in homelessness.
Los Angeles’s homeless population has spiked 16 percent from 2018 and has the largest outdoor homeless population. Rows of tents line the streets that are littered with trash.
In San Francisco, human waste and trash can be seen scattered along the city streets.
Last year the city received 27,000 requests to pick up human waste.