Friday, October 3, 2014
No room at the homeless inn
Homeless families with children were left to sleep in an intake center this week for the first time in more than a decade because of what officials are calling a "capacity crisis" in the shelter system.
De Blasio administration officials said they were unable to find appropriate shelter placements for five families who arrived late in the evening on Monday.
Instead of being sent to shelter units with beds and cooking facilities, as is required by law, the families slept on chairs in a basement lounge of a Bronx office building known as the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing office (PATH).
PATH is not set up as a shelter, and is intended only as a place to process shelter applications.
The city's homeless officials said they’re working hard to line up hotel rooms and open additional shelters to avoid a recurrence of families sleeping at the intake office. They said sheltering families is a complex process which can take several hours and that the families in question arrived after 10 p.m.
Complicating matters on Monday, they said, there were 90 vacant shelter units that had not been properly cleaned.
Another mother said she and her two children slept in their car on East 151st Street after getting tired of waiting for a placement.
There are more than 56,000 people currently living in the city's family shelters, an all-time high. And more families aren't just coming into shelter, they're also staying longer.
With an especially low vacancy rate for shelter units, the city has resorted to placing seven families with children in the Auburn shelter in Brooklyn, for one night each -- despite de Blasio's announcement in February he would no longer house children there.
All to benefit slumlord shelter owners. Nice!