Ben Buchwalter


One-Way Tickets for Homeless?
November 22, 2009, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Economy, Mother Jones | Tags: , ,

July 29, 2009

In July, the New York Times reported that the city of New York has bought one-way tickets for homeless families to destinations including Florida, California, and South Africa since 2007. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg embraced the policy to reduce the strain on the city’s overcrowded homeless shelters and save the city a bundle. This follows a social experiment in Denver, in which city officials provided housing to the chronically homeless. The study found that subsidizing housing for approximately $10,000 per person — a third the price the city typically spends on this population in ER bills. Though such creative programs are appealing, they are politically tricky, as I wrote for Mother Jones. Here’s an excerpt:

On the surface, these experiements in New York, Denver and San Francisco sound like a homerun. They appease progressives because they offer social services to a disadvantaged population. And who doesn’t love a goverment program that saves money? But they are far from perfect, and raise questions about where to draw the line and how to guarantee that once the cash runs out, the homeless won’t end up back on the streets.

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