NYC wants to have less homeless people — even if that means buying them a one way ticket out of town. The NYT says that the Bloomberg administration has paid for 550 homeless people to leave the city — including flying people to “Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).”
It may sound like a waste of money, but compared to the $36,000 a year it costs to house a family in a shelter — the city sees it as a bargain.
Many of them are longtime New Yorkers who have come upon hard times, arrive at the shelter’s doorstep and jump at the offer to move at no cost. Others are recent arrivals who are happy to return home after becoming discouraged by the city’s noise, the mazelike subway, the difficult job market or the high cost of housing.
“I didn’t expect the city to be the way it is,” said Hector Correa, who was in a homeless shelter last week and flew home to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. “I was expecting something different, something better.”
Apparently, people are always landing in NYC unprepared for the reality of life in the city.
“An adventurous but ultimately unlucky Michigan couple drove to the city in search of jobs and a new life. They got $400 in gas cards to drive back,” says the Times.
The program allegedly “works,” so far, no homeless people have come back. Critics say the city isn’t actually solving the problem, just relocating it.
“The city is engaged in cosmetics,” Mr. Cohen said. “What we’re doing is passing the problem of homelessness to another city. We’re taking people from a shelter bed here to the living room couch of another family. Essentially, this family is still homeless.”