NYC Buys Homeless Tickets Out of Town

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2009 8:00 AM CDT
NYC Buys Homeless Tickets Out of Town
A homeless family in Brooklyn wait for replacement housing after the shelter they were living in was evacuated.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York City has quietly taken a new approach to combat homelessness—since 2007, the Bloomberg administration has bought more than 550 families one-way tickets out of town. Social workers help the homeless to find relatives who may take them in, and some have been flown as far as France or South Africa. The city spends $500,000 annually on the program, and none of the aided families have returned to shelters, reports the New York Times.

Shelters are an expensive solution for New York, where housing a family can cost $36,000 a year. Some advocates have criticized the program, accusing New York of "passing the problem of homelessness to another city." But victims of homelessness have embraced the opportunity to leave; one man flown back to Puerto Rico said, "I didn’t expect the city to be the way it is. I was expecting something different, something better." (More homeless stories.)

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