Ha! In a move that's ridiculous and funny and sad all at the same time, the Bloomberg administration is working to rid New York of homeless people by providing them with one-way tickets back from whence they came.
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.
The city, which spends $500,000 a year on the program, employs a local travel agency, Austin Travel, to book one-way tickets for domestic trips. Department of Homeless Services employees do all the planning for international travel.
The story goes on to report that city officials say there is no limit on where entire families can be transported. So far, they have placed people all over the country and on 5 continents. Financial aid is also offered to help ease the transition, with the city willing to advance a family up to four months worth of rent money and pay their security deposit, plus an allowance to cover the cost of new furniture and any broker's fees involved.
Reading this story caused two things to enter our minds: The first thing being this woman that we've been seeing for years panhandling with her kids on the subway, the 6 train if we remember correctly. Over the entire span of time we've seen her working the trains, she peddles the same tale of woe—that she and her kids are from out of state and that her car broke down and she just needs money for a new battery or something to get back to where she and her kids came from. We're going to print a copy of this story out and carry it inside of our trusty backpack so we can give it to her the next time she asks us for change on the train.
The second thing we thought of was how we've always wanted to live in Paris and how we're pretty deft at dirtying ourselves up, to the point where people have actually thought we might actually be homeless. Just saying.