Monday, April 15, 2013

In Charge of the Six Hundred

Not the Light Brigade, but the remaining families who are still homeless after Hurricane Sandy devastated and destroyed their homes.

They’ve been living in city-provided shelter, basically hotel rooms, since the disaster clean up began. On April 30, the city is pulling funding for that program. They will for all intents and purposes, be homeless:

Many families who fell victim to Sandy will be left with no place to go when the city pulls the plug on its hotel program at the end of the month, advocates warn in a new report.

Some 592 families are still in hotels six months after the storm, and the city is trying to get them into other housing by the April 30 end of the program.

Advocates are urging the city to scrap the deadline.

I’m not one of those advocates. The city can’t possibly be expected to finance their living arrangements indefinitely.

But here’s the thing: Where are all the free marketers who claim that private enterprise will step in when times are tough? These people live less than fifteen miles or so from the greatest concentration of wealth in this hemisphere, if not the world. You mean to tell me that those billion dollar bonus packages that bankers and brokers dole out annually couldn’t have gone towards helping to fund relief in these areas?

Instead, these folks take a “Let them eat cake” attitude towards the very people who likely are assigned to make their lives a little easier. Many of the displaced are firefighters and police officers and other middle class families…after all, they could afford houses….who make the income that buys the things that make the money that gets invested in banks and investment accounts.

And there aren’t that many families. 600 is a meaningless, insignificant number in the grand scheme of things, and about half of that number will be leaving the program shortly anyway, as their homes are in the final stages of repair. We can presume the other 300 or so will also be out sometime in the near future.

And so this, THIS, is why the government has to spend my tax money in places it really shouldn’t have to, because the people who can help, won’t.