In an amazingly callous decision, one of the country’s richest individuals, Mayor Bloomberg has ended the low income housing subsidies in New York City. Ending subsidies has resulted in thousands of families with children as well as disabled people to reenter the city’s shelter system or contend with life on the street.
In most instances they were given 3 days to vacate their formerly subsidized apartments.
A few have delays up to 30 days while they wait for court rulings regarding the legality of the Bloomberg decision. The rulings are not anticipated to offer relief and in most cases will come after people have been forced out of their homes.
Mayor Bloomberg seems to have an attitude that poverty is a personality flaw and hence somehow the fault of the poor. This in the face of many working families that are simply unable to afford the high housing costs in NYC. The disparity between wages and rents, if not the highest in the country is certainly close. The Mayor’s office has stated that ending housing subsidies was unavoidable because of budgetary problems faced by the city. But this is absolutely disingenuous as the cost of supporting a family in a shelter is $36,000 annually and the average rent subsidy is approximately $10,000 a year.
The shelter population increased 10% to an all-time high of over 43,000 with homeless, children accounting for 17,000. During Bloomberg’s tenure the homeless population has grown by nearly 40%. It is hard to figure out Bloomberg’s motivation, especially in light of the higher cost to the city of shelter occupancy. Punitive? Resentment? Perhaps he’s just catering to his landlord friends so they are free to charge even higher rental rates. Or maybe it amounts to the simple goal that the homeless population will lose all hope and leave the city to the more affluent occupants. Whatever his rationale, he should feel ashamed of himself, that is if a sense of shame were possible considering his sociopathic history.
You can download the full report: State of the Homeless 2012, by the Coalition for the Homeless.