NYC Governor Cuomo’s End Of The Year Remarks About Homelessness

Governor Cuomo

On the last day of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying the following in regards to homelessness in New York City: “We have severe challenges next year. There is nothing we cannot do if we focus on it. It is our apathy that stops us from solving these problems. There is no reason you have homeless people on the street in 2018. There’s no reason, but you choose to do nothing about it.”

According to the New York Post, Governor Cuomo was directing his comments towards Mayor De Blasio. For quite some time it has seemed to appear that NYC’s mayor and governor have not seen eye-to-eye on more than a few issues (to put it mildly). However, in the meantime, the citizens of the city are suffering from the dearth of affordable housing, and the soaring rate of homelessness. According to the news source, The Patch, Federal tallies have the number of New York City’s homeless currently at about 76,000 people.

The questions remain: Who is going to fix the problem? How? When?

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The Statement New Yorkers Should Hold The Mayor To: The Affordable Housing Edition

NYC Mayor Housing

In a recent New York Daily News editorial, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio stated the following:

“Wherever I go, I meet folks who are doing everything right- working hard, making a decent salary and trying to build a better life. In the New York I moved to 40 years ago, that was enough to feel economically secure.

The city had a lot of problems back then, but finding an affordable place to live wasn’t one of them.

It would have been hard to imagine a city where more than half of our people spend more on rent than they can afford, where entire neighborhoods slip out of reach of working families, where even people we once considered solidly middle class ask themselves: Can we still afford to live here?

Well, let me be clear: It’s New York that can’t afford to lose people like you.

This has to be a place where seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class can all afford to live. Otherwise, it’s not New York anymore.” -NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio

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Free Vending Machines For The Homeless Coming To New York And Other Major Cities

Action Hunger Vending Machine

Charity organization, Action Hunger, has come up with a ground-breaking idea to dispense food and toiletries to the homeless. The organization plans to stock free vending machines with everyday necessities such as: water, fruit, sandwiches, light snacks, lotion, socks, toothpaste, etc. Each machine will reportedly allow up to 100 homeless people to receive three items per day.

The vending machines will be able to be accessed by homeless people who have received a chip-based key card. According to The New York Post, the pilot program that will launch the machines will commence in Nottingham, in the United Kingdom. The New York Post states that the BBC has reported that Action Hunger “has plans to install similar vending machines for the homeless in other big cities like London, New York City, Seattle, and Los Angeles.”

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NYCHA Erroneously Sends Almost 1,500 Eviction Notices

NYCHA

According to a New York Daily News article, the New York City Housing Authority erroneously sent 1,424 residents a letter threatening “termination of tenancy.” NYCHA officials have reportedly chalked-up the letters mistakenly sent to residents as being a “computer glitch.”

The letters, understandably, sent terror through residents who feared their housing was in jeopardy. One NYCHA tenant is quoted by the NY Daily News as saying: “The wording of the letter is so threatening. They should not do this. They don’t know how this emotionally kills a person. I did not sleep at all…My blood sugar was very high in the morning.”

To add insult to injury, the residents received the letter close to Election Day, and were unable to communicate with NYCHA’s management offices due to the offices being closed for the holiday.

Hopefully NYCHA is taking steps to right their wrong. Hopefully, those steps will exceed a pat apology.

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How Familiar Are Politicos With The Nuances Of Homelessness?

HMLS New Yorker

I’m particularly concerned with how knowledgeable politicians who have been tasked with solving social problems are when it comes to the issue of homelessness. I am particularly concerned about this when it comes to New York City; not only because it is my hometown, but because it has exceeded Great Depression levels of homelessness, and local politicos are expressing exasperation when it comes to dealing with this issue. (CLICK HERE to read about NYC’s mayor’s expressed exasperation.”)

In a recent ABC News report on homelessness, the New York City governor’s statements regarding the homeless problem does not convey confidence that he is knowledgeable regarding the nuances of the issue. When asked to address the issue of homeless people using the public train system as a place to sleep, the governor reportedly said the following: “Let’s get real. Let’s get the homeless the help they need. Shelters, mental health, job training et cetera. Second, the New York City Transit Authority is owned by the city and policed by the NYPD. The NYPD used to do this. They need to do this again.”

Based on the aforementioned quote attributed to Governor Cuomo, I wonder if the governor is aware of, or has considered, the following:

• Many people who are “street homeless” are avoiding the city’s dangerous, drug-riddled shelters like the plague.

• Many homeless people don’t need “job training,” or “mental health” assistance. Many of the homeless are employed people whose employment is only threatened by being homeless and living in one of the city’s homeless shelters. I wonder if the governor, and other city politicos, are aware of how homeless shelter protocols, and conditions, threaten so many homeless people’s employment.

• How would NYPD be able to tell the difference between some of the people who are sleeping on the train because they are homeless, and people who are on their way home and have fell asleep on the train after a long day? There are stereotypes about what a homeless person looks like. There are some people who may be deemed perfectly coiffed and groomed who are homeless and sleeping on the train. In the governor’s eyes, does the well-groomed homeless have a right to sleep on the train while the less-groomed homeless don’t? Does the governor suggest that NYPD officers approach anyone on the train who has their eyes shut and ask them if they are homeless, or on their way home; and then expel them from the train based on their answer?

We clearly need politicians who are not so far removed from the issues the city’s citizens are facing. We also need politicos who dedicate, and assemble. the proper brain power to grapple with serious issues.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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Why NYC Mayor’s Recent Statements On Homelessness Should Cause Great Concern

HMLS New Yorker

Being that Mayor De Blasio is the incumbent mayoral candidate in a political race where he, arguably, does not have any viable opponents, I am deeply interested in what he has to say regarding the state of homelessness in New York City. It is likely that his vision and actions will loom largely over this issue over the next four years.

The mayor recently stated the following regarding homelessness to the New York Daily News: “Obviously, I am not happy with where we stand on homelessness…We did that wrong and I take full responsibility for taking so long to put together a holistic plan. That’s on me and my team. To end homelessness in New York City, I don’t know how and when that happens…On homelessness, I think we’re talking about a long war and people should be honest about that.”

The aforementioned quote is troubling to me because it expresses a lack of confidence and know-how in dealing with the homeless crisis that has exploded in New York City. I also find this quote troubling because the homeless crisis is referred to as a “long war.” The last societal issue that was framed as a war, the “war on drugs,” was a losing proposition and continues to be so decades later. I hope this will not be true of the homeless crisis too.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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NYC Mayor Admits To Mistakes Regarding Homelessness, Says It’s A “Long War”

HMLS New Yorker

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio spoke with the New York Daily News about his first term in office as mayor, and his hopes for the future of the city. He reportedly stated that he has regrets regarding the manner in which his administration handled to homeless crisis.

He is quoted in the New York Daily News as stating the following regarding his strategies for grappling with the city’s unprecedented homelessness quagmire: “Obviously, I am not happy with where we stand on homelessness…We did that wrong and I take full responsibility for taking so long to put together a holistic plan. That’s on me and my team. To end homelessness in New York City, I don’t know how and when that happens…On homelessness, I think we’re talking about a long war and people should be honest about that.”

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Why Isn’t Homelessness A Major Election Issue?

HMLS New Yorker

With homelessness in New York City being worse than what it was during the Great Depression, you would think that it would be a major issue in the upcoming New York elections. This can also be said in elections that affect the whole country, as homelessness is increasing in many States in America.

Is homelessness not a major issue addressed in elections because:
• Politicians don’t think homeless people, or people who care about homeless issues, vote?
• Homelessness is not “where the money is,” unless the homeless are being exploited by the system and not helped by it?
• Politicians feel that homeless people are the “underbelly of society”; therefore, their issues don’t need to be addressed?
• Politicians have the option, and the power, to tune out the voices of people who are crying out for help?
• Politicians avoid making homelessness a “hot topic,” because it might awaken too many people to realize that they are paycheck away, and this could cause a political uprising?
• Politicians don’t want to fix the homelessness problem?
• Politicians are disconnected, and/or don’t care?
• Politicians think if they ignore the problem, it will magically go away, or people won’t notice the problem exists?
• They don’t feel like their election is contingent on this issue, and they don’t care about the people they are supposed to represent enough to address it?

Whatever the reason is for the neglecting of this issue, I am predicting that this issue is not going to be ignored much longer. This won’t be because of the goodness-of -heart of the majority of our elected officials, obviously. This will be because, across the country, particularly in gentrified areas, and particularly in New York City, the homeless numbers are swelling; and by virtue of the laws of physics, you can only sweep so much under a rug before an explosion happens and dirt is all over the room. With the epic numbers of homelessness in the city, and with the treachery people are faced with when they enter the homeless system, the issue demands to be addressed and solved.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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