Best tiny tyrant (2008)

Mary Brosnahan

Huffing and puffing, Mayor Mike tried to blow the Homeless House down recently, railing about how he was standing up to "the tyranny" of homeless "advocates" he refused to identify by name. Maybe he thought that by just describing them as being unwilling "to admit that we're ever making progress" everyone would know he was talking about five-foot-two giant Mary Brosnahan, who has helped more people without homes than Mike has sold stock-eyeing computers. Brosnahan has helped run the Coalition for the Homeless virtually since the right to shelter was guaranteed by the federal courts in the '80s, and she's been a thorn in every mayor's side—not because she's constrained by the "fetters of political correctness," as Bloomy put it, but because she sees a bit too much human misery every day, crowded into her own waiting room, to pick up rose-colored glasses. She actually gives Bloomberg an "A" for innovation, commending him for his out-of-the-box efforts to attack the saddest crisis in our city. She just says he hasn't put enough money behind his great initiatives, estimating, for example, that it will take eight years before Bloomberg's new housing for the mentally ill is built. Meanwhile, Brosnahan's organization is busing 300 homeless kids to a Bear Mountain summer camp it operates, serving a thousand hot meals on the street every day, placing 20 to 25 homeless women in real jobs yearly, running a day camp for kids in the shelters, and funneling funds for everything from diapers to school supplies to 12,000 homeless people in 2005. She even set up Community Voicemail for 3,000 phoneless New Yorkers—a tyrant, apparently, with a head and a heart.


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