It only takes one visit to New York City to see many homeless people. Whether you are in Central Park, Penn Station, or Greenwich Village, you will come across people without homes. However, leave it to New York City to come up with a solution to solve this problem. They are flying these people home, whether across the country or to the other side of the world. People have been sent to 24 countries in 5 continents including Paris, Johannesburg, and San Juan. The city even follows up with the person with a phone call to make sure he or she has arrived safely. Even the cost to make this program possible is around $500,000, New York City makes the effort to give these people a better life off the streets. See the Times article:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/nyregion/29oneway.html?_r=2&hp.
When I saw this article, I was so impressed with the efforts by New York City. With all of the other issues in this area including crime, the economy, safety, etc., who knew it would still find the time to spend so much effort and money on the fact that so many people are living on the streets. Whenever I am in the area, I feel so bad for the people who are forced to live on the streets even though many of them have come to New York City hoping for a better life. I always wonder how they are able to survive for a long period of time with this lifestyle. It truly warms my heart to see that New York City is giving them hope to get back their former lifestyle and live in their former home.
However, what about the future? How long can New York City send people back to their homes? How many people actually know about this program? How many people are STILL left on the streets? Yes, hundreds are people are returned to their homes, but what about the remaining thousands? This program is simply a temporary solution to a bigger problem. Of course there are shelters and programs to help people get on their feet, but more and more people are coming to the city that is supposed to be full of opportunities and finding that there is not as much hope for them as they previously thought. In New York City, outsiders think that they will come, find great success, and live a luxurious life. However, that is not the case as the city becomes more competitive than ever before. Another solution needs to be put in place alongside this one, whether through free job counseling, free brokers, etc. to get people on their feet. This program even gives up on foreigners who have come to the city to be successful by sending them back home without helping them make a life for themselves in the city.
I truly commend the Bloomberg administration for reaching out to its citizens and truly trying to make a difference. But I hope they will continue these efforts and put in place better regulations and laws to help these people get on their feet instead of shipping them off to their homes. Yes, not everyone will be able to survive in New York City. It is high paced, competitive, and harsh. But there is always hope for people who are not used to that high pace. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, success is due to outside factors that affect a person, whether encouragement, familial support, or long hours of hard work. These factors may be all the homeless people need to survive in New York City.