Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bloomberg's NIMBY Policy for the Homeless in New York

While in law school, I recall learning about a concept in environmental law class that goes by the acronym "NIMBY."  It means "not in my back yard."  I learned about the concept when we were studying rules that pertain to laws that are spawned by a desire of certain communities not to have certain noxious pollutants near there homes or communities.  Well, it lookslike Mayor Bloomberg has created a NIMBY policy with respect to the homeless in New York City.  Under a new policy adopted by the City, homeless individuals and families in the cities shelters are offered free one-way tickets to and location in the world where they have family willing to take them in.  Here is an excerpt from the July 29, 2009, article in the New York Times:

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.

For the entire story, see "City Aids Homeless With One-Way Tickets Home" in the July 29, 2009, issue of the New York Times.


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