Advice for the New Mayor
Savas, E. S.
Heinemann, H. Erich
Wriston, Walter B.
Daniel Biederman President, Grand Central Partnership
Rethink the city's policy on the homeless. Elected officials and homeless "advocates" seem to think that every homeless person in New York is the helpless victim of the real estate economy, Republican urban policies, and an uncaring nation. The homeless themselves dispute this. When one talks to homeless people (as employees of my business improvement districts do all day long), one finds that most acknowledge having serious personal problems. It is more practical for the city to approach the problems of this limited number of people (far fewer than the 100,000 or more the advocates claim) than to change all of society.
Start with employment programs for the homeless, as we have at the Grand Central and 34th Street partnerships. A troubled person with a job to do every day gradually becomes less troubled. Providing employment, even before drug treatment and well before housing, is the best route to reentry into society. With work-readiness training, and some continued counseling while they are employed, even those with drug or alcohol problems or serious neuroses are often ready for entry-level jobs.