New York sort of solves its homeless problem

To solve its homeless problem, New York City is providing free--but only one way--tickets to homeless people anywhere they want to go, reveals Julie Bosman of the New York Times.   
And that includes such mundane U.S. locations as Michigan, Puerto Rico as well as five continents.  


City officials said there were no limits on where a family can be sent, and families can reject the offer and stay in city shelters. So far, families have been sent to 24 states and 5 continents, most often to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

"We want to divert as many families as we can that need assistance," said Vida Chavez-Downes, the director of the Resource Room, a city office with 11 social workers, two managers and an administrative assistant who help relocate families. "We have paid for visas, we've gone down to the consulate, we've provided letters, we've paid for passports for people to go. Anyone who comes through our door."

One family with 10 children accepted an offer to go to Puerto Rico on a nonstop JetBlue flight. An adventurous but ultimately unlucky Michigan couple drove to the city in search of jobs and a new life. They got $400 in gas cards to drive back.

One set of parents agreed to move to France with their three children to be with the mother's family. The $6,332 travel cost included five plane tickets to Paris and five train tickets to the town of Granville, in the northwest.

Although the program has cost New York about $500,000 annually, the city feels it is cheaper than housing the families in its homeless shelters.    

But what happens when the prime receiving regions of NY's generosity  latch onto this idea and begin giving their homeless one-way tickets to New York if  requested?  Shuffling homeless people around to destinations of their choice might help a few make a new life in a more compatible location; perhaps closer to family, friends or other support institutions. 

But, for many towns it seems to be a homeless exchange. 

To solve its homeless problem, New York City is providing free--but only one way--tickets to homeless people anywhere they want to go, reveals Julie Bosman of the New York Times.   
And that includes such mundane U.S. locations as Michigan, Puerto Rico as well as five continents.  


City officials said there were no limits on where a family can be sent, and families can reject the offer and stay in city shelters. So far, families have been sent to 24 states and 5 continents, most often to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

"We want to divert as many families as we can that need assistance," said Vida Chavez-Downes, the director of the Resource Room, a city office with 11 social workers, two managers and an administrative assistant who help relocate families. "We have paid for visas, we've gone down to the consulate, we've provided letters, we've paid for passports for people to go. Anyone who comes through our door."

One family with 10 children accepted an offer to go to Puerto Rico on a nonstop JetBlue flight. An adventurous but ultimately unlucky Michigan couple drove to the city in search of jobs and a new life. They got $400 in gas cards to drive back.

One set of parents agreed to move to France with their three children to be with the mother's family. The $6,332 travel cost included five plane tickets to Paris and five train tickets to the town of Granville, in the northwest.

Although the program has cost New York about $500,000 annually, the city feels it is cheaper than housing the families in its homeless shelters.    

But what happens when the prime receiving regions of NY's generosity  latch onto this idea and begin giving their homeless one-way tickets to New York if  requested?  Shuffling homeless people around to destinations of their choice might help a few make a new life in a more compatible location; perhaps closer to family, friends or other support institutions. 

But, for many towns it seems to be a homeless exchange.