Thursday, October 11, 2012 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

More Shelters, More Stubbornness: Mayor Bloomberg’s Response to Record Homelessness

Two things stuck out in a yesterday’s Associated Press article highlighting the growing problem of record homelessness in New York City: 1) The Bloomberg administration’s refusal to provide housing assistance to homeless New Yorkers is keeping tens of thousands of kids and families living in instability; and 2) The administration has seemingly given up on even trying to explain their failed policies.

From the AP Article, On point 1:

At last count, more than 46,000 people sought shelter every night in New York, the highest number ever recorded. A recent census report found the city harbors a disproportionate 14 percent of the nation's homeless, with Los Angeles a distant second at 3 percent.

…In a break from previous administrations, Bloomberg stopped putting homeless families at the top of the colossal waiting lists for public housing and federal rent subsidies.

"It's just once you're in the system, it's a struggle to get back on your feet," said Shawn Joell, a 49-year-old homeless, unemployed Army veteran who lives in the 95th street shelter. "A lot of people are in dire need of housing and help."

And On Point 2:

The city's Department of Homeless Services initially agreed to speak with The Associated Press for this story and allow a reporter to interview people inside the shelter. But after learning that the AP had interviewed homeless residents that weren't hand-picked by the city, the department abruptly canceled an interview with the commissioner and refused to answer any questions.

This complete unwillingness to even address the problem will not make it go away. It's time for the administration to agree to real solutions, and they can start by allowing homeless families to access permanent housing resources.

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