It’s fairly safe to say that Mayor Bill de Blasio has fallen ‘slightly’ short of his original campaign goal to remedy the homelessness crisis in New York City. In fact, The New York Post summed up the current situation in NYC fairly succinctly back in July 2015:
Unfortunately, particularly for a man seeking re-election later this year, the following stats on NYC homelessness are fairly damning.
So what do you do when you’re up for re-election in about 8 months and realize that you oversaw a massive expansion of a problem you previously vowed to eradicate? Well, you throw as much taxpayer money as necessary at that problem to make it go way, of course. Per the New York Daily News:
Mayor de Blasio unveiled an ambitious new plan Tuesday to address the vexing challenge of housing the homeless, vowing to build dozens more shelters but saying little about where he’d put them and acknowledging it won’t solve the crisis.
In a speech in lower Manhattan, the mayor promised to stop using the expensive hotels and the private apartments in “cluster sites” that the city has been reluctantly utilizing to house a homeless population that grows each year.
Instead, the mayor said he would move the homeless now staying in these places — many of which are plagued by decrepit conditions — into 90 new, traditional city shelters across the city.
Although the mayor said nothing about funding during his hour-long speech, his aides said later the city will spend $300 million over five years to build the shelters.
Meanwhile, even members of De Blasio’s own party blasted his lack of details and obvious attempt to just throw money at the the problem it hopes that it simple goes away.
Assemblyman Erik Dilan, a Brooklyn Democrat who as a city councilman was chairman of the Housing Committee, raised concerns about the high number of shelters.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” Dilan said. “There’s going to be an uproar in neighborhoods because they’d rather see people in permanent housing.”
“I am disheartened. I see more aspiration than reality,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), whose district has the highest concentration of cluster sites in the city.
“The city has been throwing the kitchen sink at the crisis, expending hundreds of millions of dollars, and none of it seems to be working,” he said.
“Our community wants to be respected,” he said. “We’ve sort of heard this story before, so the proof will be in the pudding.”
We sense an opening for you, Hillary.