A federal government agency – HUD – is mandating homeless shelters be allowed anywhere and everywhere. Federal fair housing laws say people cannot be denied housing based on race, sex or disability and if a permit for a shelter is revoked, the federal government can be called into the offending community and can force the community to allow the shelter.(1)
It’s having a deleterious effect in New York and you can expect it to be a national problem at some time in the future.
Homeless shelters have grown at an astounding rate in New York City under Mayor Bloomberg and they are expanding outward onto Long Island. Mixed-use rezoning combined with the HUD zoning allows for the shifting of populations in homeless shelters into areas where they would normally be blocked. In addition, if residents complain, they are depicted as heartless, anti-poor NIMBYs, which tends to silence much of the opposition.
It’s a form of social engineering, intended or not. If one considers the fact that Mr. Obama has ordered HUD to map every neighborhood in the United States and has announced a plan to redistribute the assets in every neighborhood, this takes on a new significance.
Under Mayor Bloomberg, The Department of Homeless Services in New York has been putting up ‘safe-haven’ shelters everywhere throughout the city and they are taking in people from other states that don’t have these types of shelters.
The living conditions in these shelters are horrible. They are managed very inefficiently – no one is minding the store. The New York Times ran a story of one family living in one of these shelters that you can read here.
The DHS is putting one up in Glendale.(2) Residents don’t want it but the DHS said Glendale is a ‘mixed-use’ neighborhood and they can do it. They are retrofitting an abandoned factory for $27 million dollars to house 125 families. The factory was never meant to house people. It will be an awful place to live.
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi asked the group that is erecting the Glendale shelter if sex offenders and felons can be housed in these shelters. (3)The group, Samaritan Village, responded: “[City Department of Homeless Services] has both a mandate and obligation to provide shelter to any eligible homeless person or family, regardless or criminal background. The Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a sex offender may live.”
In Corona,(4) they are moving the homeless out of shelters and putting them into apartment buildings. There has been an increase in car break-ins, panhandling and litter on the street, according to residents. Moving them into the better neighborhoods has hastened the redistribution of wealth in a manner of speaking.
The concept is reaching into Long Island.
We already have plenty of shelters for people from areas outside Long Island, but the Department of Social Services wants to now put a MEGA shelter in Hauppauge, Long Island.
Residents are opposing it, not because they are against housing the homeless, but because they are concerned about the strain it will put on the taxpayers and on the Hauppauge School District. It will place an unfair burden on one single district and probably increase crime in the area.(5)
Another concern is the type of people who will be allowed into these shelters.
Legis. John Kennedy, R-Nesconset, and Samuel Chu, Suffolk’s Director of Operations, said that felons and sex offenders cannot be placed in these shelters. They said that the ‘New York State code of regulations and state laws make it impossible to place a sex offender in a family [homeless] shelter.’ That differs from what Samaritan Village told the Assemblyman in Glendale and it differs from what is actually happening in New York City.
An activist friend who has been questioning the appropriateness of the MEGA shelter sent me the following letter:
I went to the Suffolk County Legislature’s meeting this morning to hear how Human Services would vote on the MEGA shelter in Hauppauge.
After listening to the residents comments, and then hearing the Commissioner of DSS speak, they voted to table the Resolution yet again!!
The room was almost full and people had to actually take off from work to speak, but left right after that. They requested that the next meeting be held at night to allow more people to attend.
It’s amazing how these things work. I found out today that one of the students staying at the shelter was geting bussed all the way into Brooklyn!
I also found out that to bus a student from a shelter to their home district could cost the district as much as $30,000.00. The district is supposed to get reimbursed from the child’s school district, but I don’t know if the school districts follow through. There is no reimbursement for out-of-state children.
It’s just so outrageous that we have a growing homeless population in our county where they actually bus the familes in from Virginia and other states that don’t have the “safe haven” that the state of New York provides.
Did you see the article in the NY Times which stated that NYC has the most homeless children since the great depression? It stated that NYC has 22,000 homeless children and the article focused on this one family of 9 who live in a shelter in Brooklyn with 280 homeless children. They all depend on the monthly welfare and food stamps. Then at the end of the year, they file their taxes and wait for the child credits that could amount to several thousands of dollars.
The reality is that the people in these shelters live in squalor and they keep having children they can’t afford.
New York lost $45.6 billion in income during the last decade because of people leaving. That trend should continue until New York becomes Detroit. They think they are protected because it is the financial capital. That can change too. New Jersey only requires a short move.