A combination of events makes New York City an excellent example of why every mayor and council of every town and city in every world democracy should think seriously about standing down their attempts to solve homelessness.
For a community mayor and council, the task is hopeless. Those who believe otherwise have their heads buried in the sand. Besides being the No. 1 City in the world by a slew of measurements, NYC is one of the few cities in the world that is mandated by a higher level of government (New York State) to shelter any and every resident who needs shelter. Like it or not, they damn well have to do it. Unless of course they simply do not have the resources that others presume exist — other towns, the state, the nation itself.
The following article features Eric Adams, the current Mayor, explaining why he, and the city government of NYC, can no longer fulfill the task of accommodating any influx of unhoused people. That’s because the city is shy of the necessary shelter resources. So far, so sane. Begging or bullying higher levels of government into providing assistance would progress the sanity.
That’s just what Mayor Adams plans to perpetrate with an act of flamboyant nonsense. He will distribute a flyer along America’s southern border warning asylum seekers not to come to the Big Apple because it is “full up.” No rooms at the inn.
Should every other community, large and small in America, choose to follow this lead and proclaim what is these days a universal reality, the problem should eventually arrive on the doorstep where it belongs — The Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD). It alone, directed by the national administration, has the ability to organize and maintain a solution to provide a human right to adequate shelter for all who reside in the United States, however they have arrived.
Is there a message here for other modern democracies? Of course. National governments assuming responsibility would reflect the futility of a myriad small local governments making futile attempts to bully people by whatever means available to go somewhere, anywhere, else. What possible benefits are there to be found in addressing a human right to adequate housing by chasing people who are unhoused into whatever local bushes they can find in order to to keep begging for help and stave off starvation and/or death?