Looks like the benevolent Mayor Bill de Blasio will finally get proactive with the homeless crisis he picked up from the previous mayor and cockteasing presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg and that he himself exacerbated with his fruitless policies and promises while coddling his overlord developers and profitable non-profits while ignoring the ossified speculations and fabrications of market rate rents. For what he and his crack(ed) team in city hall have concocted a way that thinks will ameliorate the depressing omnipresence of people sleeping and dwelling on the streets, parks and subways.
Ready? From the 6 Square Feet digital publication:
“Mass surveillance” or massive outreach effort? The verdict seems to still be out on Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative to help solve the homelessness crisis in New York City. In a press release today announcing the new Outreach NYC program, the city says it will “mobilize thousands of frontline City Agency staff to request outreach assistance via 311 when they observe individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness” as a way to help them into shelters. To be exact, the total number of city employees who will receive this training is 18,000. But the Coalition for the Homeless feels that the plan merely implements “mass surveillance of homeless New Yorkers” without making investments in solutions.
In a statement, Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless, said, “The Mayor’s grand outreach plan is to implement mass surveillance of homeless New Yorkers, without necessary additional investments in real solutions like housing or low-threshold shelters. This is not a plan to ‘help’ anyone — it is a chilling and counterproductive plan to try to drive the problem out of sight.”
On the other side of the coin, Mayor de Blasio said, “We cannot attempt to address this issue in a vacuum. It’s time we all wear one uniform. Outreach NYC is our all-hands-on-deck approach to bring even more people in off the streets.”
To that end, the 18,000+ city workers who will receive training are employed by five agencies–the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Fire Department, the Department of Buildings, and the Parks Department. They’ll be advised to dial 311 when they observe “individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness.” These calls will then be routed to a new Joint Command Center under the Department of Homeless Services and the NYPD. From there, according to the press release, “interagency staff will analyze trends, triage requests, and prioritize and deploy multi-Agency responses as appropriate.”
What we got here citizens, is that Mayor de Blasio has decided that the solution to stem homelessness is to assemble a Homeless Gestapo. Think it’s hyperbole or exaggeration. It’s even in the wording of the press release. All wear one uniform and the manifestation of a Joint Command Center to procure the data.
The we here is that every agency will have some municipal workers, from the NYPD to the Sanitation Dept to report anyone being an uncomfortable inconvenient sight of the city’s massive economic inequity and awful services for the indigent, mentally ill and displaced that passerby will happen to see (or even smell sometimes).
And how much will this cost the taxpayer that your city is trying to help avert their eyes from the less fortunate? 19 million dollars. Yet again, the city is allocating money in the wrong fucking place again. 19 million can probably build a few real 100% affordable housing buildings, a hospital, or at least provide vouchers. But no, de Blasio and his Windsor Terrace luxury brownstone dwelling DSS commissioner Steven Banks this money is rather best used for surveillance creeping and wants to take 18,000 city workers away from the jobs they are suppose to do to be data scrounging stormtrooper snitches to get the homeless population into shelters that they won’t go back to*.
With this pile of dumbfuckery, de Blasio and his fauxgressive cult administration are more concerned with a brief micro solutions to the macro problem of homelessness. It’s not about giving the destitute relief or getting them back on their feet, it’s about covering up perpetual blight and bureaucratic incompetence of a depression in plain sight because all the luxury towers and preferred district gentrification can’t hide the crisis anymore. So they are going to continue to sweep the homeless under the rug by having thousands of city worker drones to snitch on them. As if their days working the streets aren’t arduous enough.
But remember, all this is “assistance” is meant to “help” people in need.
But it’s all for de Blasio to save face and cover his ass because he vainly wants to show that his neoliberal policies are working while feigning to be a liberal. Well, if he wants this to really work and impress his developer overlord donors who are clearly freaking out now how inescapable the homeless crisis is, this weak ass mayor better set aside another few million for brown shirts and armband emblems to wear for the 18,000 poor saps assigned to this expensive tech surveillance mission on the city’s most vulnerable and powerless. And probably another few million for a volunteer homeless monitor recruiting drive.
Since we all have to wear one uniform.
*This will be discussed here in a future post.