Thursday, December 9, 2010 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Today’s News Sheds Light on Misguided DHS Policies

Two articles in today's news illustrate misguided City policies and underreporting of homeless numbers.

An article in today's Daily News brings to light an issue we wrote about back in February--the City's continual misrepresentation of the true number of homeless people. As Tina Moore reports:

The city's homeless agency wasn't telling the whole tale the day after Thanksgiving, when it claimed 36,654 homeless people stayed overnight in shelters on the city's dime.

Though the city declared the figure the "total shelter census," a closer look reveals the city placed up to 1,200 more homeless people - all single adults - in various shelters that night.

As she goes on to explain, and as we detailed in an earlier blog post, the City excludes several populations from its total count of homeless people in New York City. These include individuals in "safe haven" shelters for long-term street homeless individuals, shelters for homeless veterans, and shelters for homeless families administered by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Altogether, these missing numbers represented 1,500 homeless individuals at the end of November.

Additionally, the city houses several hundred chronically street homeless individuals in "stabilization beds" each night, and has never reported on these actual numbers.

A City Council hearing this afternoon will discuss a bill introduced yesterday that would require the City to report these numbers.

A second article in today's New York Times illustrates the cruelty of the City's recently implemented study of the Homebase prevention program. As part of the study, the City randomly selected 200 families that were eligible for prevention assistance and denied them any help so they may serve as a control group.

Public officials and legal aid groups have denounced the study as unethical and cruel, and have called on the city to stop the study and to grant help to all the test subjects who had been denied assistance.

"They should immediately stop this experiment," said the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer. "The city shouldn't be making guinea pigs out of its most vulnerable."

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, many questions remain about the necessity of the study, the process by which families were informed of their rights, and the long term effects on children.

Today's City Council hearing will also request some of these answers from the City.


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