News & Politics

Frigid Outside and No Room at Homeless Inns


The temperature’s dipping into the low 30s today, so we can be can be sure to get more glimpses of life in the Age of Bloomberg like this one, as described in the Legal Aid lawsuit filed yesterday seeking a new court order to force the city to house the homeless:

“In the early hours of October 9, there were 52 men waiting for shelter – some asleep on the floor or in chairs – in a crowded room at the City’s Bellevue Shelter. The last bus took only 14 of them away, leaving the rest to sit for the night. Such has been the situation for the last two months. For example, on October 21, 2009, at least four women were sleeping on a dining room table at a shelter t 2:30 a.m.”

Steve Banks, attorney-in-chief for The Legal Aid Society said that the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless, was a last resort: “Over the past 10 weeks we have made every effort to avoid going to court but the situation has gone from bad to worse, and with the onset of winter there is a real risk that vulnerable homeless women and homeless men will suffer serious injury and even death on the streets of the City when they are denied lawful shelter in violation of the long-standing legal right to shelter.”

Coalition director Mary Brosnahan pointed the finger directly at City Hall: “Mayor Bloomberg needs to acknowledge that our city is facing an unprecedented homeless crisis as frigid weather arrives, and take action to ensure the safety of our homeless neighbors,” she said.

City officials said it’s all no big deal. “We’ve seen an uptick in demand, so our system, as you might expect, is a little tight,” city commissioner Robert Hess tells the Times. “We’re confident that we’ll continue to be able to meet demand and meet our obligations throughout the winter.”


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