June 30, 2015

As far as I can tell, this shameful segment from Bill O'Reilly and Jesse Watters was intended to slap Mayor Bill DeBlasio for policies enacted during the Bloomberg years. But slapping homeless people around to do it is just a craven, despicable act.

We begin with O'Reilly complaining that police can no longer use choke holds on suspects. Somehow this is linked to police ignoring homeless people in Penn Station.

First, a few facts about the homeless in New York, something that BillO couldn't be bothered to look at. Under Bloomberg, the number of homeless people skyrocketed mostly because there is not enough affordable housing in New York City. 57,000 spend their nights in shelters, but those shelters are run down and in need of rehabilitation.

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, DeBlasio's policies are beginning to turn this around.

Last year's rise in homelessness was the result of New York City's worsening housing affordability crisis; the lingering effects of Bloomberg-era elimination of housing for homeless children and families; and the failure of the State and City to act quickly enough to restore desperately-needed permanent housing resources for homeless New Yorkers.

The good news, however, is that Mayor de Blasio's plan to address family homelessness -- which aims to move more than 5,000 homeless families out of shelters and into permanent housing -- will lead to reductions in child and family homelessness over the coming year. Indeed, there is early evidence that the Mayor's plan has begun to halt increases in family homelessness for the first time in years.

Since December, in fact, the number of homeless families with children actually declined by more than 300 families.

In stark contrast, Governor Cuomo and his administration have done little to address rising New York City homelessness. Indeed, the Governor has opposed efforts to enhance rental assistance for homeless families and has proposed a deeply inadequate supportive housing plan that falls far short of the need.

The statistics in that report are heartbreaking. Homelessness disproportionately affects African-American and Latino families. They break out the numbers, and it's just maddeningly wrong.

These are the people Jesse Watters and Bill O'Reilly are shaming to be proxy whiners for the New York Police Department, who does not want to give up their ability to administer choke holds or be otherwise accountable.

There are also problems with addiction, alcohol and mental illness among the homeless, which Jesse Watters took pains to point out with his parade of African-American homeless who often sleep in Penn Station, a safer place than the streets.

But Bill O'Reilly just can't understand why these people dirty up Penn Station, when there's "cushy shelters" they can spend the night in.

Really, even for Fox News this is disgusting. Their viewers get the message: Poor people are scary, colored, lazy, and mentally ill. Beware.

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