NY Times Editorial: Battling Homelessness in New York City

In the wake of the landmark New York Times report about the life of Dasani, an 11-year-old homeless girl, the Times editorial board weighed in with a call to reverse Mayor Bloomberg’s failed policies and embrace housing-based solutions.

This weekend’s editorial, “Battling Homelessness in New York City,” comes on the heels of Andrea Elliott’s acclaimed five-part series about Dasani and her family, who resided for years at a decrepit City-run shelter in Brooklyn.

The editorial takes City officials to task for the deplorable, hazardous conditions at that shelter. But most important, it calls for a reversal of Bloomberg’s decision to cut off permanent housing assistance for homeless families.

The entire editorial can be read here, and following are highlights:

For decades, the city’s homeless policy recognized that permanent, affordable housing was necessary for moving people out of shelters. Mr. Bloomberg seemed to accept this reality when he took office in 2002. But he quickly moved away from it. In 2004, the city ended the policy of setting aside a portion of Section 8 vouchers and public housing apartments for homeless families in emergency shelter….

The Great Recession would have increased the homeless population in any case. But Bloomberg policies probably made matters worse. On Thursday, Mr. de Blasio’s newly appointed deputy mayor for health and human services, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, said the de Blasio administration would restore rental subsidies in some form.

That’s a good start, but more is needed, including from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who can aid that effort by ponying up money for the subsidy program as well as for services that save poor people from eviction.