Letter to the Editor: De Blasio Turns Bloomberg

It was disturbing and disappointing to see the mayor touting his Bloomberg-style change of course to make it harder for homeless families to gain access to lifesaving shelters (“Meet the new Bill de Blasio,” editorial, Oct. 18), a policy that seems predicated on the dangerously misguided assumption that the increase in the shelter census was driven by applicants who didn’t really need the help. Shelter eligibility determinations for families are now in fact at their lowest level since the mayor took office — only 38% of those who apply are approved — and the Coalition for the Homeless has seen a concurrent increase in the number of homeless families wrongly denied shelter coming to us in desperate need of help. The growth in the shelter census is not driven by people trying to game the system by gaining access to homeless shelters. It is driven first and foremost by the severe lack of housing affordable to those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. The more than 60,000 people in shelters tonight and thousands more on the street don’t need their homelessness “alleviated” — they need it solved.

Giselle Routhier, Policy Director, Coalition for the Homeless