So, according to an article posted in The Wall Street Journal, New York’s Disadvantage Program that helped homeless folks find homes sent letters to 15,000 people telling them that they couldn’t count on a subsidy that would move them out of shelters and into stable housing. This comes not long after the city played a cruel experiment of getting people to sign waivers to bar them from getting help for two years for the sake of tracking who goes into shelters and who doesn’t.
Now the city is pointing their fingers at budget cuts that will remove millions from its programs. The city is cited as saying that the homeless population will increase by 51% without this program. 51%!! The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Linda Gibbs quoted that there are no replacement programs in sight, let me repeat that, NO REPLACEMENT PROGRAMS PLANNED…….
So now what? For those already in New York, there aren’t enough shelters as it is so where are all the people who are currently housed going to go once their subsidy runs out? Regardless of who points the finger of blame, what action is being taken to protect these families with kids from sleeping on the street? While advocates duke it out in court with the city, it’s the children who will suffer the most when their safety nets get yanked from beneath them.
I can only imagine what’s going through the minds of families now wondering what they’re going to do next. For a city official to blame the state for developing a crisis is not an excuse to abandon responsibility towards the people they serve. I question if it’s cheaper to build additional shelters rather than improve an existing program so that it keeps people from living on the streets.
Either way, I’ll be watching….