Homeless in contemporary New York City

20,000 children sleep today in New York shelters, according to the latest city statistics. This number does not include homeless children who can not sleep in shelters because they and their families are not allowed to it. Up to 65 percent of families, who need shelter, do not get there, and their fate is hopeless.

"Some go so far as to sleep in the subway cars," — says reporters AlterNet senior analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless Patrick Mark. — "Some go to the hospital emergency room, some — in the laundry. Women return to those who beat them, and remain in dangerous homes. "

Families who come to shelters began to stay there much longer, waiting for the case to move to a permanent home. When reporters asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg's why the homeless began to spend time in shelters for 30% longer, than last year, the mayor said, "because there was many times more fun than ever before."

The question: "there is really great?" And indignation at his statements, a day later he clarified: "There is. This is not the Plaza Hotel … but it's not what is meant by the shelter, and it's not what the public wants and can afford. "

That's such a deep compassion for the poor, accompanied by all the acts of the mayor, which became the cause of the crisis that The New York Times called "State of emergency". When the mayor entered upon his office, he promised to reduce the overall level of homelessness by two-thirds within five years. However, the rate of homelessness has increased by 40%, swollen to 46,000 people sleeping in shelters. The administration blames the financial crisis, but it turns out she herself has many ways to degrade the lives of very poor people in the midst of the recession — you just need to accept the administrative philosophy, which teaches that the poor are too lazy to get up on their own feet, and that they Day and night are engaged only in that cheat the system.

Here is a guide on how to Bloomberg's administration was able to increase the rate of homelessness, having spent a lot of public money.

1. Reduced access to federal aid.

For many decades, Republican and Democratic mayors reduced the rate of homelessness by providing parents and their children priority access to federal housing subsidies and rental vouchers. But in 2004, the five-year plan to reduce homelessness, the mayor, the administration kicked homeless families from the top of a huge queue for federal housing subsidies. City officials, without providing specific evidence of poor people accused of defrauding the system, and in a special resettlement in shelters, in order to obtain vouchers. (Like many conservative fudge affecting minority intriguing, this is also no doubt true in some ways — some people here and there lied — but studies show that such an attempt on the system were not widespread problem).

Level of homeless families receiving federal subsidies fell to a record low. According to the analyst Coalition for the Homeless Giselle Routhier, "in 2010 to the fiscal year of record growth in homelessness, homeless families received only 2% of 5500 available to the public housing apartments, and only 3% of the 7500 housing vouchers."

Instead of programs that give them access to permanent housing, homeless families have received as a gift — an invaluable lesson of personal responsibility! First, the administration introduced the program "Housing Stability Plus» (HSP — Housing Stability Plus), which reduced the number of annual subsidies by 20%. HSP from the outset zameshena in scandals, and families are faced with new threats in the new apartments. "Many of the recent homeless families are suffering from lead poisoning, infestation, defective heating and lack of hot water," — according to the report of the Coalition for the Homeless.

Then, in 2007 the program was introduced "advantage", which helped to reduce the rent (requiring that residents found jobs or retraining), but the action of the program lasted only 1-2 years. It was assumed that when the grant runs out, families are able to find a permanent home. Instead, the family returned to shelters because, according to homeless advocates — no magical passes were not working, and in New York, the rent is not reduced. Every third family that gets under the "advantage", in 2011, returned to the shelter, according to the calculations of the Coalition for the Homeless.

2. Reduction and cancellation.

Despite this, and in response to the demands of the homeless advocates and some officials, who urged the mayor to give priority to families federal aid, the administration touted the program as a success. Therefore, a very strange thing was that when, in March 2011 the Governor of the State of New York has cut funding by half, "Benefits", the Bloomberg administration has refused to finance the difference and destroyed the program. At the same time, the mayor said, that poor families homeless pretending to cheat "advantage." "It is impossible to understand what motivates these people," — he said in the broadcast. — "According to one theory, some of these people were connected to the system of homelessness, the system of shelters in order to qualify for a program that would help them get out of homelessness."

When city officials have cut the program, 15,000 families with housing costs relied on the "advantage" received written notice that they have only two weeks to find other mechanisms of support. Emergency court order forced the city government to return to help families in the program, but when, in February 2012, the decree was revoked, the city authorities have drastically reduced all the help tenants, forcing them to pay the full market rent, though they could pay only 30-40%. The inevitable return to shelters many families who have fallen under the "advantage", led to a sharp increase of homeless people sleeping in shelters — up to 43,000 in 2012. "Over the past 18 months, new housing programs did not appear" — said Stamps AlterNet.

3. Spending money on temporary solutions.

Instead of these programs, the administration only desperately opens more and more temporary shelters. AP reports, that in recent months have opened 10 new shelters for single adults and families to cope with the crisis. And to the end, the administration plans to open five shelters.

Here the problems — no matter where you look. Contents of the family in a shelter costs 3000 per month — more than the housing allowance. In addition, studies show that the lack of a permanent home has a destabilizing and harmful effects on children, even if they were in one of those New York's shelters, which hit the mayor with the luxury. Homeless children are sick more often, get sick more rare and serious diseases than those children who have a home. They often suffer from respiratory and digestive infections. The lack of a permanent and safe housing delays the normal development. Among the homeless, children have higher levels of anxiety and depression that often manifest themselves in breach of discipline.

"If homelessness is bad for adults, for young people the consequences can be catastrophic, causing problems can last for a lifetime," — wrote an editorial by The New York Times. (And in fact, are not yet fully known, as far as long-term problems facing the level of homelessness Hurricane Sandy. Right now, the families who lost their homes because of the storm, stay in hotels, paid for by the city authorities, which shall be compensated FEMA).

4. Refusal to change course.

The City Council of New York outlined a plan to restore the programs that are said to have reduced the rate of homelessness. As written by Christine Quinn, Annabel Palma and director of the Coalition for the Homeless Mary Brosnehen in an article for the Huffington Post"It means a return to a strategy of deferred equitable distribution of seats available housing, and the distribution of federal housing voucher program for the trapped system of shelters. In addition, to create a new rental assistance program, based on the federal voucher program. "

According to the analysis of the urban plan of the New York City Independent Budget Committee concluded: "If 5,000 families a year derived from shelters with priority programs and NYCHA Section 8, the cost of maintaining families in shelters would have decreased by $ 29.4 million, thus saving the city budget would amount to $ 11 million. "

Until now, the administration rejects the plan. At a hearing in September, the Commissioner of the Office of the homeless Seth Diamond said the unlikelihood of a successful program of retraining as a way to deal with the sharp increase in homelessness. One member called this approach — "zasovyvaniem heads in the sand."

Diamond reiterated the administration's position — the inhabitants of shelters are not a priority for housing assistance.


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