There’s nothing inherently fallacious with Team de Blasio’s program for placing metropolis homeless households in flats outdoor the 5 boroughs — nevertheless, boy, have they bungled the execution.
Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka issuing the metropolis in federal court docket over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Special One-Time Assistance program, claiming New York is dumping homeless in his metropolis. Yet the metropolis is definitely merely paying a yr’s worth of a lease for households it’s attempting to place in communities the place they’ve roots — and 1000’s of Gotham’s homeless hail from Newark initially.
The downside is that de Blasio and his homeless czar, Steven Banks, did SOTA beneath the radar — and without appropriately testing the fashions that they had been paying for.
In a savage Department of Investigation report, Commissioner Margaret Garnett flagged tremendous bungling that left households “living in squalor under the roofs of unscrupulous landlords.”
Earlier packages solely lined journey costs for homeless relocated outdoor metropolis borders. But since SOTA launched in August 2017, de Blasio has spent $89 million on lease to accommodate 5,000 homeless households (some 12,000 individuals) — some as distant as Louisiana, Utah, Puerto Rico, and even Hawaii. A third of the households actually remained in the metropolis; virtually 1,200 wound up in Newark.
The DOI report found that landlords “collected tens-of-thousands of dollars in rental payments upfront from the city to provide these subpar conditions with little risk of accountability for their actions.”
Program pointers said the Department of Homeless Services or shelter employees should do web site visits and “walk-throughs” of fashions in areas merely reached from the metropolis, akin to Newark (solely a PATH journey away). But the exact requirements had been looser, and staff normally made do with pictures or on-line knowledge — and even took landlords’ phrase for home conditions.
City Hall insists it’s fixing all the points now, and probably it is. We undoubtedly don’t suppose de Blasio or Banks ever meant to dump homeless New Yorkers in freezing or vermin-ridden flats, as the DOI experiences they did.
But it’s par for the course in an administration that time and again has failed the most vulnerable amongst us.