Things that are Dumb: Even the homeless don't want homeless shelters - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the June 2015 Juniper Berry Magazine

Things that are Dumb: Even the homeless don't want homeless shelters

Partnership for the Homeless President and CEO Arnold Cohen had this to say in the Daily News in April:

"We don't need to spend years and millions of dollars building better shelters. We need fewer shelters — and far more true housing. I'm sure we'll hear a hue and cry from shelter providers that they've been underfunded. That claim, however, is no excuse for allowing New Yorkers who desperately seek shelter as the last refuge from the street to live in such inhumane circumstances.

A better course would be to immediately revoke the contracts of these shelter providers (and stop doing business with those without contracts) and find organizations that appreciate the moral imperative of caring for the people they serve. Today, our city's shelter program too often functions as a way for organizations to collect lucrative government contracts. Those providers, many of them non-profits, have become a significant bloc in supporting a status quo that simply doesn't work for those who are homeless.

It's all terribly insidious, with organizations couching their interests in outmoded social services theory to perpetuate the belief that shelter is necessary because homeless people are supposedly not 'housing ready.' There is another way: help give homeless New Yorkers real places to live. Long-term."

If this is the case, then why is every politician from Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to Council Members Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer telling us to accept and embrace new shelters?

June 2015 Juniper Berry Magazine

June 2015 Table of Contents