Re: Welfare Reform & Homelessness (US Conference of Mayors report) FWD

P. Myers (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 10:41:28 -0800 (PST)

Thanks, Tom, for sending this.  I'd like to respond with a report of a
situation occuring in a number of cities nationwide...this heard on
the news last night as I was dozing off...brought me upright in bed real
quick, and with a sick, sick feeling...

The report focussed on Public Housing in the State of New York, long known
for it's "excellent" record of housing low income and providing shelter
for homeless (how true *this is, is a matter on which low income and
homeless must comment...).

At any rate, New York is beginning to institute policy changes in how
public housing is dispensed.  In the past, most units (appropriately) have
gone to folks receiving Public Assistance...some fewer units to low income
working poor...that trend, in the teeth of block granting, state budget
cuts and less/no funds for transportation to jobs; clothing allowances;
access to affordable and *good, responsible child care, etc. that trend is
being oppositionally reversed:  soon, the majority of units will be
allowed to the working "poor" (I can't recall the cutoff point, but more
than I certainly make!).

*Most egregiously (I feel again betrayed by this administration),
President Clinton has given his blessing to this policy, which will of
course, componentially swell the ranks of homeless children, women and
men:  he confirms: "Public Housing is a privilege, not an entitlement."

These genocidal strategies, disguised as tough love; ending Welfare
dependency; equity and cost efficient, must_be_named, and continue to be
named for what they are:  political ploys to further divide U.S. citizens
from empathy for one another; to demonize poor and homeless, and of
course, to create a desperately needy population, willling to do anything,
work at *any job, in order to provide a roof over their, or loved-ones'

Who said it a few days ago?:  "If you're not outraged, you're not paying
attention"...?  We need to be outraged.  

Pat Myers

P.S. Waivers from the Feds to do this have been filed by a number of
cities; not limited to N.Y.

What is *our role in all this?

On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, Tom Boland wrote:

> FWD from National Coalition for the Homeless
> (At the same URL, you can also access info on Homeless People's Network--Tom B)
> November 26, 1997
> **Survey on Welfare Reform Portends Increased Homelessness**
> A new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors highlights some of the
> difficulties faced by cities as they begin to implement welfare reform. The
> report, Implementing Welfare Reform in America's Cities: A 34-City Survey,
> examines the impact of welfare reform on jobs, child care, legal immigrants,
> assisted housing, and emergency services. All of the cities surveyed expect
> welfare reform to have a negative impact on assisted housing, and 60% of the
> cities reported that requests for emergency shelter increased in the first
> half of 1997. Half of the cities responding to the survey said that they are
> adding beds for homeless persons, and 68% of the cities reported that
> welfare reform is forcing them to reassess the way the McKinney Homeless
> Assistance Program funds are being spent.
> According to the study, 92% of the cities reported that they will not have a
> sufficient number of low-skill jobs to allow compliance with the welfare
> law's work participation requirements. In addition, officials in the survey
> cities estimate that an average of only 27% of low-skill jobs in their
> cities provide private health insurance. Seventy-one percent of the survey
> cities reported that the state reimbursement rate does not cover the average
> cost of full-day, center-based child care, and 62% of the survey cities
> reported that the state reimbursement rate does not cover the average cost
> of full-day, home-based child care.
> The report is available for $15.00 from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1620
> Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, 202-861-6717.