According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of homeless individuals and families has “reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
The report added that in February of this year, “There were 62,435 homeless people, including 15,689 homeless families with 23,764 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system.”
And yet the mayor, along with elected officials, are thrilled and excited to announce a $100 million investment to expand the city’s growing network of greenways.
The mayor’s spin-meisters sent out a press release touting the initiative — “$100 million capital in Mayor’s Executive Budget will help close ‘gap’ near UN with new esplanade, bring Greenway south from East 61st to 53rd Street” screamed the headline.
Yeah, because the city’s homeless population really needs those greenways to cycle, walk, and help them appreciate the “breathtaking waterfront.”
Let me enlighten this brain trust: the last thing that homeless families need is more greenways and bike lanes and places to appreciate their homelessness.
Why doesn’t the mayor, along with all the other bloated pols, take the $100 million capital and design useful, affordable, tiny homes? Tiny homes can be built relatively cheaply, don’t take up a lot of room, don’t use much of a footprint, and would afford a homeless family a permanent home, where their children can go to school and be picked up by a regular city school bus. One where they don’t have to worry about being moved or shifted. You know, the American dream — a permanent roof over their heads.
I know of a student who lived in a shelter on Staten Island with her mom. Due to circumstances out of their control, the pair was forced to move to a shelter in another borough. But the girl wanted to graduate with her class — she was doing well in her school and didn’t want to leave — so she opted to commute. That commute takes her three hours in the morning and three hours at night.
What purpose does that serve? If the city had invested that $100 million capital in building an affordable tiny-home village, that child would not have to spend six hours of her day just commuting
There is plenty of underutilized land, not only in Staten Island but in the other boroughs as well, where a tiny-house village could be created
According to many sites, the cost of an average tiny home is approximately $20,000 to build, so for $100 million buckaroos, about 5,000 families could be living in a permanent, albeit tiny, home.
According to a report in the NY Daily News, it cost approximately $122 per day to house a family in 2016 — over a year, that amounts to about $43,000 per family. Multiply that by the number of homeless families in New York and you are talking about a whole lot of money.
Not for Nuthin, but just think how much the city would save if it took that $100 million and built 5,000 tiny homes and got that many homeless families out of shelters and into permanent housing? But no, Mayor Deblasio would rather spend the cash on pretty greenways so his cronies living in high-rise luxury buildings on the Upper East Side can have a nice spot to kick off their shoes and enjoy the “breathtaking views.” Hey isn’t that what every homeless family really needs?
Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.