Among the many things City Hall needs to rethink now that the pandemic has blown a vast hole in the budget is the mayor’s plan to build a whole new set of homeless shelters.
Notably, the city’s emergency program to move so many from shelters to hotels (to reduce COVID-19 spread) skyrocketed in cost from $78 million to $299 million. A federal grant will cover most of that, but it’s a sign of how readily homeless spending can explode.
And the big public pushback against the hotel-shelters shows how neighborhoods erupt in fury when certain homeless populations are dumped in their midst.
All of which argues for dropping Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to open 90 new homeless shelters. It’s too expensive — and too likely to enflame the target ’hoods at a time when no one needs more reasons to move away.
Homeless czar Steve Banks, who has managed to more than double the Homeless Services budget, needs to start focusing on what’s cost-effective in post-pandemic Gotham.
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