From NY to LA: Creative, futile solutions to homelessness


root - Posted on 20 July 2003

by Alex Cuff PNN Newsbrief Editor

Despite ex-mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s ingenious and humane policy of slashing services and housing to those in poverty to cure homelessness (the "if you build it, they will come" fear), the number homeless in NYC has risen by 16,000 and is currently over 37,000. The homeless population in New York City includes 12,000 mothers and 16,000 who are under the age of 18.

In a creative response to a court order, which requires the city to provide temporary shelter for anyone who needs it, city officials are considering the use of old cruise ships as a solution to the chronic housing shortage. The cost of acquiring and renovating the old cruise ships is undiscloses but 'officials' say the cost will certainly be less than that of NY real estate which is at record high levels. The homeless services commissioner and other ‘top aides’ took mayor Bloomberg’s private jet to the Bahamas to inspect the ships...

This isn’t the first time that New York has turned to inane solutions instead of subsidizing more housing: In the early 1990s thousands of homeless families were put on little-used jail barges in the East River. Last summer the city put homeless families in a Bronz jail where they spent 45 days until a court ruled the jail inappropriate for housing. In this there is an eerie, yet obvious connection between incarceration and homelessness.

In LA, they are skipping the facade of the cruise ship and putting the homeless straight into jail. On the day before ‘Thanksgiving’ more than 250 police officers swept the blocks bounded by 1st, Spring and 7th Streets and the Los Angeles River. Folks were arrested both on the street and in low-cost hotels around 5th street. LAPD claims the sweep had been planned for 2 months and was intended to catch parole violators but the raid came just 48 hours after business organizations complained that the high number of homeless people was threatening the downtown economy.

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