“At the Statue of Liberty, there’s a plaque that reads in part, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your hudled masses,’” begins an AP report on New York’s dramatic spike in homelessness over the past year. “In New York, the city that lies in Lady Liberty’s shadow, there is no giving necessary. They’re already here.”
According to Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless, there are now more people in NYC homeless shelters each night than there have been at any time since the great depression, and there have been 10 new shelters put in place since January. Markee places equal blame on the poor economy and bad public policy. “For the first time since modern homelessness began 30 years ago,” he says, “we have in place now no housing plan to help homeless children and families leave our shelter system and obtain permanent housing.”
The AP also spoke to three homeless New Yorkers, and had an interview scheduled with head of Homeless Services Seth Diamond. Diamond cancelled his interview after learning reporters had contacted homeless people not hand-picked by his department.