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NYC Buys One-Way Tickets For Homeless

From a somehow not outraged New York Times:

City Aids Homeless With One-Way Tickets Home

By JULIE BOSMAN

July 29, 2009

They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).

They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

The Bloomberg administration, which has struggled with a seemingly intractable problem of homelessness for years, has paid for more than 550 families to leave the city since 2007, as a way of keeping them out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. All it takes is for a relative elsewhere to agree to take the family in.

Many of them are longtime New Yorkers who have come upon hard times, arrive at the shelter’s doorstep and jump at the offer to move at no cost. Others are recent arrivals who are happy to return home after becoming discouraged by the city’s noise, the mazelike subway, the difficult job market or the high cost of housing.

“I didn’t expect the city to be the way it is,” said Hector Correa, who was in a homeless shelter last week and flew home to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. “I was expecting something different, something better.”

The city, which spends $500,000 a year on the program, employs a local travel agency, Austin Travel, to book one-way tickets for domestic trips. Department of Homeless Services employees do all the planning for international travel.

City officials said there were no limits on where a family can be sent, and families can reject the offer and stay in city shelters. So far, families have been sent to 24 states and 5 continents, most often to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

“We want to divert as many families as we can that need assistance,” said Vida Chavez-Downes, the director of the Resource Room, a city office with 11 social workers, two managers and an administrative assistant who help relocate families. “We have paid for visas, we’ve gone down to the consulate, we’ve provided letters, we’ve paid for passports for people to go. Anyone who comes through our door.”

One family with 10 children accepted an offer to go to Puerto Rico on a nonstop JetBlue flight. An adventurous but ultimately unlucky Michigan couple drove to the city in search of jobs and a new life. They got $400 in gas cards to drive back.

One set of parents agreed to move to France with their three children to be with the mother’s family. The $6,332 travel cost included five plane tickets to Paris and five train tickets to the town of Granville, in the northwest

The Hawaii Legislature recently rejected a plan to send homeless people on one-way flights to live with relatives on the mainland, because of the cost.

Once a family leaves New York, homeless services officials say they follow up with a phone call to make sure they arrive safely, then make a few more calls over the next two to three weeks. 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.

City officials said that none of the families that have been relocated have returned to city shelters

Sometimes the journey to and from New York is quick. Justin Little and Eugenia Martin, both 20, owed back rent on their apartment in Fayetteville, N.C., so they came to New York on Saturday with their 5-month-old, Inez. They planned to stay in shelters while they looked for jobs, and went straight to the intake center

What a wonderful way to see the world on the taxpayers’ dime.

One set of parents agreed to move to France with their three children to be with the mother’s family. The $6,332 travel cost included five plane tickets to Paris and five train tickets to the town of Granville, in the northwest.

Note to self: this is a great way to get a nice vacation to the French countryside.

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.

Note to self: this is a great way to get not only your transportation, but also your new rent paid, if you ever want to move out of New York.

Justin Little and Eugenia Martin, both 20, owed back rent on their apartment in Fayetteville, N.C., so they came to New York on Saturday with their 5-month-old, Inez. They planned to stay in shelters while they looked for jobs, and went straight to the intake center.

Note to self: this is a great way to get your expenses paid, if you ever want to skip out on an apartment and move to New York.

City officials said that none of the families that have been relocated have returned to city shelters.

Given how easy (and cheap) it is to get a new ID, how would city officials really know?

Still, remember when the media, especially the New York Times, used to condemn this practice as heartless and venal?

Somehow it is different when a liberal in good standing like Mr. Bloomberg does it.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “NYC Buys One-Way Tickets For Homeless”

  1. Melly says:

    LOL Steve with your comment!

    ACLU…..calling the ACLU……………..hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am not even a liberal lawyer and I see so many juicy violations of the Constitution here.

    Oh no………no one will take advantage of this giveaway.

    Prolly cost less to provide the right services for these folks so they can re-enter society as tax paying citizens.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    So I don’t know how ‘homeless’ can have ‘homes’ (must be a liberal thing), while I agree (in the end) it will be cheaper to ship ’em out than keep them it still seems to just be another smarmy liberal solution to a problem. And I’m not so sure about the cheap fake ID thing – if this is the result of ‘Coming to America’ for them – they just might stay in their socialist havens, instead of having to work for a living.

    I wonder how many are illegals – bet none – as they have ‘rights’ you know!

    Still, like all liberal schemes – it is bound to waste money, become corrupt with fraud and fail – in the end.

  3. catie says:

    Isn’t this rich? Hmmh, maybe we should all go to NYC & become homeless so that idiot Bloomberg will send us all home, give us rent & furniture vouchers. Too funny.

  4. 64dodger says:

    Now if we could just get some one-way tickets for the liberals.

  5. proreason says:

    I’m ok with this as long as The Moron gets a ticket, and has to use it.

    • Dangerous says:

      Well, let’s look at the justifications some people use for this program, pro.

      “I didn’t expect the city to be the way it is,” “I was expecting something different, something better.”

      How about: I didn’t expect the administration to be the way it is. I was expecting something different; something better.

      Others are recent arrivals who… becom[e] discouraged by the city’s noise, the mazelike subway, the difficult job market or the high cost of housing.

      Switch out a word or two and we get: …discouraged by the administration‘s noise, the mazelike explanations, the difficult job market or the high cost of housing people who can’t be bothered to pay their own mortgages.

      So, yeah, you could make a case that New York should provide the great I Won with a one-way ticket out of the US. Maybe they could convince his brother to share the shack?

  6. Confucius says:

    I’m enjoying all the “notes to self.”

    Can we get a list of cities that have this program? I would like to see Obama’s 57 states this summer.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      The other 7 states must have got those shovel ready jobs because the other 50 don’t rate, huh?
      Just think of “ALL” the jobs he saved!!

      (our savior)

  7. neocon mom says:

    They’re probably shipping them all to Frisco.

  8. neocon mom says:

    Please stop giving our city council ideas, Mayor Bloomberg.

    Here in “Little Berkeley”, the city council is looking endlessly for a site for the “One Stop Homeless Center” because they haven’t yet found enough ways to bleed the residents dry. Apparently the city was concerned when the National Organization for the Homeless named us as one of the meanest cities to the homeless (that didn’t stop homeless people from flocking here as usual though). Measures like putting bars in the middle of park benches was just one of the reasons for the “meanest” rating, along with a restriction on setting up a soup line in front of the downtown courthouse. Many of these types of measures were adopted, along with a beefed up police presence, after the 1990 brutal slayings of 5 University of Florida students by homeless, transient Danny Rolling, (who also confessed to other murders and rapes in other parts of the country).

    Mind you we have several charities in town that cater to the homeless, The Salvation Army and a Catholic Charities homeless shelter along with other church-based networks and ministries. But the city wants to compete with these “faith-based” organizations. I am rather happy with the current arrangement–those who want to support the charities will, and those who do not are not obliged. And whereas the faith-based charities attempt to teach a man to fish (or he can move on) the government help is going to be an endless supply of fishes, at taxpayer expense.

    Above all, I’m aghast at the notion that a local government would ask its residents to pony up for an endless parade of outsiders. The only debate in our town, unfortunately, is where to put the “One Stop” center, not whether or not it’s needed.

  9. Right of the People says:

    This is similar to what Comrade Bernie Sanders did here in Vermont when he was the openly proclaimed Socialist mayor of Burlington. He wanted to show how well his programs were working so he got the federal government to build some section 8 housing in a little border town called Richford, rounded up all the homeless and shipped them to Richford. Screwed up Richford beyond belief, they now have one of the highest crime rates in the state. After he was done, Bernie proudly claimed that there weren’t any homeless in Burlington, my programs are all working.

  10. MinnesotaRush says:

    I wonder how they’d feel about a cruise or two while I’m tryin’ to figger out where to go???


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