New York Mayor de Blasio’s tale of two cities: Homeless routed out of encampments
By Clare Hurley
9 September 2015
The high number and increasingly visible presence of the homeless on New York City’s streets erupted into a crisis for the de Blasio administration last week. The resignation on Monday of Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, who for 20 months had been in charge of the mayor’s strategy on homelessness, was followed by a briefing on Wednesday by Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announcing a shift to more-aggressive measures to rout the homeless out of an estimated 80 encampments around the city.
De Blasio campaigned for mayor in 2013 on the slogan that New York, with its stark levels of inequality, was a “tale of two cities,” and yet during his almost two years in office, nothing significant has been done to redress the conditions of poverty and homelessness. As many as 60,000 people, including more than 14,000 homeless families with 24,000 homeless children, continue to sleep each night in the city’s municipal shelter system, the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.