[Hpn] New York, NY - New York City's Homeless Family Logjam - The New York Times - August 14, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Wed, 14 Aug 2002 19:08:11 -0500


New York City's Homeless Family Logjam 

Advocates should show some patience with this new
administration as Mayor Bloomberg has said he would 
commit more of the city's resources to the homeless problem
and would build more affordable housing as soon as possible.

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Editorial Op/Ed - The New York Times - August 14, 2002 

The City of New York and lawyers for the homeless have been at
each other's throats for more than 20 years, but the problem is only
growing in severity. 

The administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg has inherited a 
problem that is in fact rapidly turning into its first crisis. 

The situation is unlikely to improve unless both the administration
and the advocates for the homeless lower the hostility level and 
return to serious, open conversation.

The homeless problem appeared anew this week when a dramatic
upsurge in the number of families seeking shelter forced the city
to open a former jail in the Bronx as temporary housing. 

The families will be housed briefly in a barracks area of the
building that has been fitted out with prison cots. 

But the prison idea has brought howls of protest from children's
advocates, who rightly worry that these impressionable young
people will be scarred by the venture of bedding down in a jail.

The city turned to this option because of severe crowding at the
Bronx intake center, where families have been coming in droves.

Despite a longstanding court order forbidding it, women with
vulnerable young children have regularly been found sleeping in
this crowded, noisy and unclean office. 

After visiting both the intake office and the jail, Mayor Bloomberg
decided that the former jail building was preferable to the office floor.

The primary problem is a shortage of affordable housing, brought
on partly by the fact that in the 1980's, the federal government
got out of the housing business, leaving the city alone. 

In addition, the state subsidy for a homeless family of three in New
York City is $286 per month, less than a third of what is needed
for a two-bedroom apartment.

The city nonetheless must find a solution. 

One way to shrink the crowds at the intake center is for the city
to do a swifter and more comprehensive job of separating those
who have no safe places to live from those who turn to the shelter
system in an attempt to jump the queue of those seeking a place
in public housing.

The advocates should also show some patience with this new
administration. 

Mayor Bloomberg signaled from the beginning that he would 
commit more of the city's resources to the homeless problem
and would build more affordable housing as soon as possible.

 For its part, the administration should cease what one court 
official described as a policy of "stonewalling" when it comes 
to court mandated consultations with the advocates and
special master.



Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
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source page:

Homeless & Housing Daily News
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomelessNews/