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.
Homeless 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