New York City has sent more than 12,000 homeless people to hundreds of cities nationwide since Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Special One-Time Assistance Program" started in August 2017, The New York Post reported on Sunday.
The program provides the homeless with a full year of rent to go live somewhere else, although the city to which they are sent, which are spread out over 32 states, usually does not even know they are coming.
Department of Homeless Services data studied by The Post showed that New York City has spent more than $89 million on rent alone since the program began. The amounts paid out for travel expenses and furnishings were unavailable.
The city defends the expenditures, saying they add up to less than the $41,000 annually per family it cost to keep them in a shelter in New York.
But critics say the program is a stop-gap solution riddled with problems that has failed to reduce the city’s homelessness. Hundreds of the families return to New York homeless shelters, as social services in the cites to which they are sent are often unaware of their existence.
A recent CBS special highlighted the poor conditions to which some of the homeless people were sent, with one example describing the apartment the family received in New Jersey having no electricity, heat or water.
A probe by New York City’s Department of Investigation found “several vulnerabilities in the program,” the Post said, including “an inability to hold participating landlords and real estate brokers accountable,” according to department spokeswoman Diane Struzzi.
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