Very wealthy, almost-finished mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped right up to a microphone yesterday, in front of reporters whose job it is to record his words, and said, “Nobody’s sleeping on the streets.” He didn’t mean no one, like, literally; he was rounding down, City Hall assured in a follow-up to the press. The city’s count from last January was 3,200 people outside with no place to go during winter, but the Coalition for the Homeless chimed in that there’s “no accurate measurement of New York City’s unsheltered homeless population, and recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.” Bloomberg has a history of being dismissive on the subject.
Asked last year about a rise in homeless shelter populations during his administration, Bloomberg said, “We have made our shelter system so much better that, unfortunately, when people are in it — or fortunately, depending on what your objective is — it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before … so there’s less pressure on people to move out today.”
The subject came up again this week because of the city’s controversial policy, struck down in court and currently under appeal, that requires people to prove they have nowhere else to go before being admitted to a shelter. The Daily News reported that despite freezing temperatures, a family of three, including a 4-year-old child, were asked to leave a facility because they were re-applicants.
“We are trying to do what we’re supposed to do: make sure that people who need services get those services, and that people that don’t need them don’t get them,” Bloomberg tried to explain. How about we handle denial first?