Wednesday, April 14, 2010

As Weapons Sharper Than Knives

A very strange little article turned up in the Huffington Post today. It's AP sourced, which is bad blog juju. Go ahead. Read the article. It's ten sentences in six teeny paragraphs.

Let's review. NYC is charging rent for space in homeless shelters. Advocates for the homeless say this is the craziest shit ever. NYC officials say giving poor people stuff sucks because they're - like - icky. This sounds awfully familiar because it is. Remember last May?
The Bloomberg administration has quietly begun charging rent to homeless families who live in publicly run shelters but have income from jobs.

The new policy is based on a 1997 state law that was not enforced until last week, when shelter operators across the city began requiring residents to pay a certain portion of their income. The amount varies based on factors that include family size and what shelter is being used, but should not exceed 50 percent of a family’s income, a state official said.


Vanessa Dacosta, who earns $8.40 an hour as a cashier at Sbarro, received a notice under her door several weeks ago informing her that she had to give $336 of her approximately $800 per month in wages to the Clinton Family Inn, a shelter in Hell’s Kitchen where she has lived since March.

“It’s not right,” said Ms. Dacosta, a single mother of a 2-year-old who said she spends nearly $100 a week on child care. “I pay my baby sitter, I buy diapers, and I’m trying to save money so I can get out of here. I don’t want to be in the shelter forever.”

“I think it’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” Robert V. Hess, the city’s commissioner of homeless services, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t see this playing out in an adverse way. Our objective is not for families to remain in shelter. Our objective is to move families back into their own homes and into the community.”

I think it would be hard to argue that there's a bigger dick anywhere than Robert V. Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services, who plainly has never missed an expensed meal in his life.

Fuck me, what about last July?
The new policy gives the city greater latitude to push families out of the shelter system, which had swelled to a near-high of 9,720 families as of Sunday. Families could always be evicted for illegal behavior like bringing in drugs or weapons, but they can now be ousted for any of 28 violations, including failing to sign in and out or not keeping an active case file with city welfare agencies.

The new policy is also meant to encourage families to more readily accept permanent housing, even if it is not to their liking.

“We would only expect to use this process in the most egregious of situations,” said Robert V. Hess, the commissioner for homeless services, in an interview on Monday. “We do have a small number of families where temporary emergency shelter is really being used as permanent housing.”

Evictions are for a 30-day period.

I've read those four paragraphs about ten times, and if those words make sense in that order I need a new native language. And watch this exhilarating turn of phrase:
Mr. Hess said it was not clear where families removed from shelter might turn. “The most likely outcome is that the family would demonstrate that they do have a place to go,” he said.

Or...they might be homeless and have nowhere but the sidewalk, which by this motherfucker's definition is a place to go. But it's only for 30 days, right?

The articles that repeatedly detonated my frontal lobe contained specifics: contact information, odious policies, affected people, statistics, some description of the projected outcomes, which distressed me. The AP write up in the Huffington Post is blessedly free of anything, really. It's almost as if the article avoids using words. Have another look. NYC is charging rent for space in homeless shelters. Advocates for the homeless say this is the craziest shit ever. NYC officials say giving poor people stuff sucks because they're - like - icky. This was moral horseshit a year ago; now it is merely manure. But why even mention it? Why did the AP publish this? Why did the HP make space for it now? Look for stories in the next few months in which NYC ups the heat on the homeless as the weather warms.

This is not hard to predict. It's almost as if it's happened before.



Post a Comment

<< Home