New York City Mayor finally admits massive increase in homeless on the street--our native refugees, before the Syrians, you might say--and found a solution. Taxpayers. He simply moves the bodies to pricey motels. Homeless in NYC now use 4,000 rooms in 46 motels per night, up from 'only' 1,000 rooms in Jan. 2015, for a tab of $50 million in 2016 alone. Many homeless have addictions or mental health issues that aren't solved by a room-NY Post, Goodwin
"If you build it or lease it or own it, they will come — and keep coming and keep coming, until you have no place to put them all. That’s the decades-old lesson of New York’s homeless problem, but Mayor de Blasio came into office with a determination to reinvent the wheel.
And so he has, with his backward policies creating even more homeless people and forcing the city to spend ever more on failing programs. As he is proving by gutting school discipline and standards and much else, he is the mayor who refuses to learn from the past.
Early in de Blasio’s stint, the rise in public vagrancy was a flashpoint, with many residents and visitors complaining about being harassed and attacked. Asked why they slept in the streets or parks instead of going to shelters, street people usually answered that the shelters were crowded and dangerous.
They were right, and so the mayor, after initially denying there was an increase in the street population or that the shelters were a mess, did an about-face and pledged a major fix.
Naturally, he made everything worse.
It turns out that de Blasio’s “fix” involved renting out thousands of pricey rooms in motels and hotels and turning them into shelters. How pricey?
Try an average of $161 dollars a room per night, for a total tab of $50 million this year alone.
And, as The Post recently reported, an Upper West Side hotel, The Excelsior on West 81st, is charging the city up to $300 a night each for a batch of rooms.
The homeless are now using 4,000 rooms in 46 motels each night, up from 1,000 rooms in eight motels in January 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And it’s not as if the 600 or so shelters have been improved or eliminated. About 59,300 people used them one night last week, up more than 6,000 since de Blasio took office.
The total picture, then, is of a homeless population still expanding far faster than the city can keep up. Yet to hear officials talk, they’re doing everything they can as best they can and besides, it’s not their fault. Nothing ever is.
“It’s a citywide problem that has built up over many years,” Steven Banks, the top homeless official, insisted to a Journal reporter. “We have a legal obligation and a moral obligation to not have people on the streets.”
Notice he doesn’t say the city has an obligation to do it better and less expensively.
In truth, Banks is a big part of the problem. He spent 30 years suing the city to force it to provide shelter on demand. And when de Blasio foolishly gave him the keys to the kingdom, Banks immediately set about removing the few barriers previous mayors had established to discourage people from coming into the shelters in the first place.
His “no questions asked” approach recalls the come-and-get-it welfare mentality of the John Lindsay era. That, too, ended in disaster, both for taxpayers and for welfare recipients who lost any reason to support themselves. The government check would always arrive on time, even if it afforded only a subsistence existence.
The problem was compounded until welfare reform was passed at the federal level, an epic advance that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. All the talk of doom and gloom was wrong, with millions of Americans moving from welfare to work because they had to. That was an example of tough love that helped downtrodden, dependent people build better lives for themselves.
A similar change is needed in policies governing homelessness. There is no true compassion in a system that offers seedy temporary housing for adults and children — no matter how long they need it. Surely, America and New York can do better.
Especially because many of those in the shelters aren’t there because of a real housing-affordability problem. They have addictions or serious mental issues that are aggravated on the streets or in shelters.
That the numbers keep growing even in the face of low unemployment should be a wake-up call at City Hall. Don’t count on it. When hard work, tough love and political courage are needed, bet on de Blasio to roll over and hit the snooze button."
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