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Everyone's Trying to Solve the Mystery of Mayor de Blasio's Homeless Policy

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Everyone's Trying to Solve the Mystery of Mayor de Blasio's Homeless Policy

New York Post March 7, 2018
Urban PolicyNYC

Editor's note: The following is an editorial from the March 7, 2018, issue of the New York Post, based on an upcoming Manhattan Institute report.

No one can figure out just what Mayor de Blasio’s doing when it comes to the homeless — and nobody likes the results.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson waxed furious Monday at City Hall’s refusal to say how much it’s spending on hotels and “cluster site” apartment rentals, even as it moves to add $169 million in shelter funding.

“It is not acceptable . . . We deserve an answer,” Johnson told new city Budget Director Melanie Hartzog.

Total shelter spending has jumped above $1 billion a year for 14,000-plus homeless single adults and 15,200 families — over 60,000 people as of March 1.

A new Manhattan Institute report points to one reason for soaring costs: The city abandoned Bloom­berg-era benchmarks and incentives that rewarded shelter operators for reducing stays and placing families in independent housing.

The study found that shelter stays averaged 90 days longer in 2017 than in Bloomberg’s last year — up from 293 days to 383. Report author Stephen Eide says Team de Blasio instead has focused on making shelters safer and cleaner, which likely encourages longer stays.

The Bloomberg “Performance Incentive Program” brought average shelter stays for single adults down each year from 2006 to 2010 and cut stays for homeless families with children in 2009 and 2010.

Even solid lefties are puzzled. Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Queens) on Monday panned Team de Blasio for adding $2.8 billion in new shelter funding without presenting “a clearly articulated strategy.”

The MI report notes that only 7.5 percent of the city’s homeless population is deemed “chronic” (as classified by the feds), less than half the US average of 17.2 percent — which means that New York ought to be able to reduce its shelter population.

It leaves you wondering if City Hall’s strategy is to grow the ranks of the homeless.

This editorial originally appeared in the New York Post

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