Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bloomberg Shows His Warmth For The Homeless

There have already been stories about how much empathy Bloomberg has for the least amongst us in the city. The latest to come from the desk of the plutocrat Mayor is sadly, not much different. His biggest supporters say that because he runs a media empire, running a city government should be pretty much the same way. Bloomberg prefers efficiency, expediency and a business model to good government, fairness and dedication to the public good. Unfortunately, one does not lead to the other and unless you are trying to make a profit off the city than that idea needs to be dropped in a hurry. Just like with Mayoral Control of the schools, Bloomberg is looking to bring "efficiency" to the city's homeless.

From The Gothamist:

The number of families sleeping in shelters is near an all-time high; according to the Department of Homeless Services, there were 34,774 people in shelters last week, including 9,361 families. The Bloomberg administration is now seeking state approval for a new set of policies intended to move families out of shelters more quickly and, according to the Times, apply the "market-driven, incentive-based philosophy to homeless shelters that it has used in schools." Under the new rules, the city would pay shelters more than the usual rate, which is roughly $100 a day, for the first six months that it houses a family. But after six months, if the family has not found permanent housing, the shelter would be paid 20 percent less than the standard rate. Homeless advocates deem the new policies "mean-spirited" and worry that families would be forced out after six months. But Linda Gibbs, deputy mayor for health and human services, insists families would only be ejected for "refusing to look for housing, refusing to seek employment, anything that is an unreasonable refusal to participate in the steps they need to take to overcome their homelessness." In April, homeless advocates blamed Bloomberg for the rise in homeless families.
Bloomberg meanwhile lives in his own world where those numbers are falling, thanks to some faulty calculations. The key thing is that the Mayor is looking to strip funding from homeless shelters when in these times, we need more assistance in that area to catch people who are falling behind. This isn't about market equilibriums and cost-benefit analyses, we are talking about real, live human beings and our city's government should be able to recognize that.