The U.S. economy is in the shitter, and with that comes high unemployment, which, naturally leads to more homeless people. So in response to the spike in homelessness, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has set up homeless shelters in some of New York City’s pricier neighborhoods.
And who lives in New York’s pricey neighborhoods? Rich people, that’s who — most of whom don’t seem too thrilled with their new neighbors or the mayor’s decision to give them glamorous new mailing addresses without neighborhood consent.
Bloomberg — who by our count currently owns 11 homes — said in August that, “We have made our shelter system so much better that, unfortunately,
when people are in it, or, fortunately, depending on what your objective
is, it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had
In other words, New York City’s homeless shelters perhaps are becoming too nice — so nice that people don’t want to leave.
This, apparently, is a problem for the haves in New York’s wealthier areas..
The Associated Press interviewed some residents in some of the
glitzier areas where Bloomberg has “cut through the bureaucracy” and
opened homeless shelters.
Below are some of the whinier
assessments of the aforementioned neighborhoods’ residents — some of
whom claim they’ve seen a spike in panhandling and public urination.
-“It sort of felt almost like a bomb landing,” said Gwynne Rivers, a
mother of three who lives near a new shelter for homeless adults on the
city’s Upper West Side. “We just have lots of concerns about safety. And
no one really seemed to care about what we thought.”
-“There definitely seem to be more people hanging around the street
corners, at the subway stops, panhandling,” said Jen Zunt, a mother of a
fifth-grader at P.S. 75. “There’s not enough supervision. And these are
going to be people who have mental health issues, possibly.”
-“We all have kids walking to the park to play soccer,” Zunt said. “I
have a 14-year-old daughter who goes on her own to school and goes to
chorus. And, you know, that’s really scary.”
People down on their luck relegated to begging for change! The horror!
all Upper West Siders are homeless-hating crusaders against charity and
public pissing, though — we spoke to a friend who lives about three
blocks from a homeless shelter near 95th Street and Broadway. She says the Bloomberg-sponsored homeless invasion of her neighborhood isn’t the end of the world.
“You just deal with it,” she says. “None of these people want to be living in a homeless shelter anymore than we want a homeless shelter right in our backyard. . . . There are beggers and pissers — but they’re usually polite.”
The reality is this: A homeless “bomb” didn’t go off near 95th and Broadway — the economy just sucks, people are out of work, and these are the consequences. There are homeless people everywhere — and the overwhelming majority of them aren’t plotting and scheming to rape and murder your 14-year-old soccer player.
This is New York in a bad economy. You’re just gonna have to deal with it — even if you live on the Upper West Side.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2012