City Will Give You a One-way Ticket to a Better Life

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Photo: WikiCommons

Well, the cat's out of the bag. Today's Times brought word of a program, started by the Bloomberg administration, that sends homeless people out of New York, never to return. But it's not like they pack them into a cattle car and send them to work in the coal mines of North Dakota. Instead, they buy them plane and train tickets that take them back to their places of origin, almost always to the home of a relative. For some, it's a pretty sweet deal. According to the Times, in the past few years, the city has footed the bill to fly whole families back to Paris, Orlando, Johannesburg, and San Juan, as well as less colorful locations, like Michigan. Afterward, they call them up and make sure they are settling in okay. It's nice!

In some cases, they really help them settle in:

In rare cases, they will advance the family up to four months’ rent, a one-month security deposit, a furniture allowance and a broker’s fee.


Naturally, there's already outrage brewing up from all sides: Some people are arguing that this doesn't solve the homelessness problem, it just fobs it off on others, while others think it's a misuse of taxpayer money, that we're basically sending the homeless on vacations, and hey, why doesn't Nanny Bloomberg call us to see how we're doing after a move? But it actually seems like a pretty sensible idea: The people aren't being deported — they want to go. It's arguably more comfortable to sleep on a relative's couch than in the Port Authority. And compared to keeping people in shelters, the program is relatively low cost: The administration says it costs the city roughly $500,000 a year. Or at least it did, until today. Now everyone's going to be showing up at the DHS office asking for a one-way ticket to Paris.

City Aids Homeless With One-Way Tickets Home [NYT]