De Blasio’s new homeless plan is more of the same

New York Post

Dec. 17

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will end long-term street homelessness … over the next five years, which means he’ll be out of office when his failure is indisputable.

Which it will be, since his plan amounts to more of the same: more beds to transition street homeless to a better life, more outreach, more “supportive housing,” more treatment, more technology. More of the all-carrots approach that ignores too many grim truths about the hard-core homeless.

The plan also guarantees a never-ending influx of new “unsheltered individuals”: It even offers housing to people who’ve never spent time in a city shelter.

And it will expand “low expectations” shelters that don’t require you to stay off alcohol and drugs, or even to meet curfew, to keep your bed. This may mean fewer people sleeping on the streets, especially in the cold months — but it does little to address the issues that led them to become homeless.

Most important: All the efforts at persuading people — especially the severely mentally ill and the hardest-core drug abusers — to accept help would work better if de Blasio were willing to use a few sticks.

Yet the city will only forcibly remove someone who’s sleeping on the street if an outreach team with mental-health professionals determines he’s a risk to himself or others.

Given how regularly troubled homeless wind up assaulting other New Yorkers, those teams plainly fail to identify a lot of “risks to others.”

City policy has long been based on the same philosophy as the Ninth Circuit ruling the Supreme Court just let stand: Stopping people from sleeping on the streets amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” — no matter that it has “spawned crime and violence, incubated disease” and threatened “the lives and well-being both of those living on the streets and the public at large,” as the city of Boise noted in its appeal to the Supremes.

New York does everything for the homeless that the progressive Ninth Circuit judges would want; under this mayor, it has more than doubled spending on such services to well over $3 billion a year. Now de Blasio pretends that another $100 million a year for his new plan will work miracles.

What does it take for progressives to admit their “solutions” don’t work?


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