Have the Jobless Help the Homeless

Scott Stringer thinks he has a good idea to help solve the city’s homelessness problem. The Manhattan Borough President already supports a census of vacant buildings in the city, which could be used to temporarily house the homeless. The City Council, and Speaker Christine Quinn in particular, does not support such a plan. So Stringer has come up with another. From his release:

If a city-wide vacant lot count would indeed cost “millions of dollars” then I believe we should look to more creative options, rather than throw up our hands and pull the plug on this important initiative. One possible approach to a vacant lot count that keeps costs low would be to utilize volunteers from the mayor’s NYC Service program.

The City already dispatches volunteers for its annual street homeless count, so this approach would not be without precedent. And, to be honest, counting vacant lots isn’t rocket science. It would require a minimal amount of training. Most able bodied New Yorkers interested in enhancing the long-term vitality of their communities could make a positive contribution by participating in a city-wide vacant lot count.

I call on the City Council to reconsider this decision and let this badly-needed housing program go forward. We cannot afford to be pennywise and pound foolish at a time when the recession has made day to day survival for the homeless tougher than ever.

It almost sounds like Stringer is attackng Quinn here. As though they both had plans of running the mayor’s NYC Service program, among other things, in a couple of years.

mchaban [at] observer.com / @mc_nyo

Have the Jobless Help the Homeless