NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols
From NY Post, October 26, 2019
New York City generously shares its homeless crisis with every corner of America.
From the tropical shores of Honolulu and Puerto Rico, to the badlands of Utah and backwaters of Louisiana, the Big Apple has sent local homeless families to 373 cities across the country with a full year of rent in their pockets as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Special One-Time Assistance Program.” Usually, the receiving city knows nothing about it.
City taxpayers have spent $89 million on rent alone since the program’s August 2017 inception to export 5,074 homeless families — 12,482 individuals — to places as close as Newark and as far as the Pacific, according to Department of Homeless Services data obtained by The Post. Families, who once lived in city shelters, decamped to 32 states and Puerto Rico.
The city also paid travel expenses, through a separate taxpayer-funded program called Project Reconnect, but would not divulge how much it spent. A Friday flight to Honolulu for four people would cost about $1,400. A bus ticket to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the same family would cost $800.
Add to the tab the cost of furnishings, which the city also did not disclose. One SOTA recipient said she received $1,000 for them.
DHS defends the stratospheric costs, saying it actually saves the city on shelter funding — which amounts to about $41,000 annually per family, as compared to the average yearly rent of $17,563 to house families elsewhere….
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HNN: Officials with NYC Department of Homeless Services say since launching its Special One-Time Assistance program in 2017, only one person has come to Hawaii.
Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green wants more proof that the program isn’t being abused. “I really want to get to the bottom of where people are coming from," he said.
He added that 1 in 10 homeless people living on the streets of Hawaii recently got to the islands from somewhere else. That adds up to nearly 1,600 people every year.
“My team will be digging into this program from New York and also we’re going to be talking to mayors from other cities and some governors because I want to make sure there’s not a western migration of homeless coming to Hawaii and we pay $50 million to cover people,” Green said.
Hawaii has an airline relocation program similar to New York’s initiative.
That program is managed by IHS. Over the past three years, Mitchell says it’s sent more than 500 people to new homes in other cities.
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Legislator Demands Investigation
KHON: …Since the program launched in 2017 New York has sent over 12,000 homeless, but according to a City of Honolulu official, only one has landed in Honolulu as a part of the Special One Time Assistance Program.
“For any state or county to just unfairly send homeless people to another place because you want them out, again it falls into the throwaway category they just don’t care. So any elected official on a county level, a state level, or federal level ought to be concerned.” said state representative John Mizuno.
State and city officials contacted Monday were less concerned about the issue, citing the small amount of data pointing to homeless from out of state residing in Hawaii.
“Less than 8 percent are individuals coming from the mainland or elsewhere who lived in Hawaii for less than a year, so the number of people coming from out of state arrivals is very small in our service system, and in fact, the majority of people are local people who are born and raised here.” said Governor David Ige’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige.
Still, the potential remains for more to be sent to Hawaii as a part of the program, as New York is reportedly not alerting other municipalities of the exports.
Mizuno wants to make sure that those would be accounted for.
“The best way would be when they go to get their welfare benefits, to have the caseworker see how did you get here can I take notation on how you got here? Oh, New York paid your way ok.” he said.
“Once we get a grasp on the significance of homeless that have been sent to Hawaii it makes our case stronger.” Mizuno added.
Morishige thinks that those flying in from out of state are mostly doing so on their own volition.
“I think definitely there are people who come to Hawaii from out of state, but my personal experience with it is individuals who choose to come here on their own, not necessarily people who are sent here from another community.” Morishige said.
Mizuno is planning to take the issue to the federal level.
“It’s inhumane and I think that I need to write a letter to the justice department to look into the legality of that.”…
read … Report: New York City exporting homeless to 32 other states, including Hawaii