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A One-Way Ticket Out of Town — How New York Helps the Homeless

I have long harbored the idea that LA — where poverty has increased faster than anywhere else in America except Detroit — should pay people to leave town and start a new life somewhere else.

It’s not the kind of thing I’ve talked about much, given the fact were the Politically Correct Capital of America as well as the Homeless Capital — and the Meanest City in our treatment of the homeless.

But maybe it’s an idea whose time has come.
New York City is already doing it. On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg started a program of evicting some of the nearly 10,000 families housed in city shelters at a cost of $36,000 each if they break rules like staying out after curfew or refusing apartments offered them.

That brought up the subject of a program that the city has quietly run to buy one-way tickets anywhere in the world for down-on-their-luck families to start the lives over, places like Paris ($6,332 cost), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan, Puerto Rico ($484.20).

The city makes all the travel arrangements from visas to relocation loans, all it takes is for the families to agree and to have a relative who will take them in.

It’s a $500,000 a year program that has relocated 550 families since 2007.

Think about it: The mayor launched a dud $5 billion affordable housing plan that has managed to waste millions of dollars and achieve very little, LA would be a better city with fewer people instead of more crammed into ever denser spaces, poor people might actually find better lives in places without gangs, places where there’s steady work, places where there aren’t so many poor people that none of them stand a chance.

At $10,000 a family, a million dollars would help 100 families to relocate; a $100 million would help 10,000 families make a new beginning.

The savings in housing assistance, social services, educational and medical costs would more than pay the cost and leave a fortune to actually provide more help for those in need. We might even be able to identify what their problems are and actually give them the support they need to improve their lot in life.

The truth is LA has too many poor people.

For all that’s wrong with LAUSD, does anybody really know how to educate 700,000 kids with the vast majority coming from poor and/or immigrant families?

For all that’s wrong with the public health system, does anybody really know how to provide decent medical treatment where there are so many people without insurance or the means to pay to see a doctor for what ails them?

For all that’s wrong with City Hall, does anybody really know how to get rid of gangs that control whole neighborhoods or how to create enough good jobs to raise people’s standard of living?

We are hiding behind programs that are more political slogan than meaningful, the “living wage” and “affordable housing” being prime examples.

I’m not talking about mass deportations or buying people one-way bus tickets to Wetumpka, Alabama. I’m talking about genuine support and enough money to start a new life.

I know it’s not realistic for the masters of LA’s failed experiment in municipal socialism (an oxymoron if ever there was one) but the dark vision of LA as Blade Runner City becomes truer every day as the disparity grows between rich and poor and the middle class flight continues unabated.

If it’s good enough for New York, it’s worth at least talking about in the once innovative City of Angels.

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12 Responses to A One-Way Ticket Out of Town — How New York Helps the Homeless

  1. Anonymous says:

    You know who is like a homeless person.
    Scott Johnson.
    Scott Johnson is Red Spot in CD 14 over at Mayor Sam’s blog.
    Scott sits on the Hazard Park advisory council and is sort of a Rain Man when it comes to things no one cares about.

  2. KK says:

    I am so glad you have written about this as I think this is a win/win for everyone involved.
    And, I could care less what Scott Johnson is doing on Mayor Sam’s blog

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got a novel idea, too. How about rescinding Special Order 40 and deporting illegal alien gang members!!!!

  4. Why not buy one way out of state tickets for our morally superior elected elites?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a valid jumpoff point for discussion: keeping in mind that as you note, the people have to have relatives in host countries willing to have them live with them, and in NYC that’s mostly Puerto Ricans. Whose ticket cost less than $500, a huge bargain compared to Paris.
    And with reports that there are migrant workers here in L A who’d be willing to go home to Mexico or Guatemala or elsewhere south of the border but don’t have the few bucks to do it, sounds great. Unless they’ve changed their minds again now that there’s a slight upturn in home sales and starts.
    I get so fed up with the way taxpaying citizens who are struggling to get by have their taxes diverted to the masses of poor, who are often illegals or their anchor baby kids. I was angry at Cardenas this week when in Council, they all expressed legitimate outrage at the state raiding $200 million from city funds, and he used as a key example how we may not have funds to continue “providing free meals at the schools to all our children.” He means, the children of the poor, mostly illegals, and “children” being even young adult gangmembers, while “our children” have been denied summer school, parks and libraries are operating at reduced services.
    BUT the idiot at 1:03 blaming it on SO40 is the kind who turns any legitimate debate into such an idiotic cesspool that people get turned off.
    I won’t go into all the obvious reasons why, but expecting street cops to be the first line in looking for illegals to deport instead of doing their jobs solving crime — including with the help of illegals if that’s what it takes — is obvious to anyone but the Minutemen, Walter Moore/ David Berger, now Trutanich’s right hand, and Dennis Zine. Take it up with the feds, who need to get their act together (Obama’s actually starting to, somewhat surprisingly, for his own political survival). And reimburse us for taking care of the brunt of the poor illegals. AND why not, help us to ship these people “home.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    I want to go to Paris, Watch out Ron you might end up being accused of being a xenophobe. But there are answers to your quandaries; however, you have not framed them correctly. You need to start your questions with How can the Mega-Rich make more money from… housing the homeless, healing the ill, caring for the impoverished. Or now that the economy has sacked what am I going to do with all of my illegally imported labor?
    There will be NO change or compromise to the current status Quo until the wealthy are compensated, the politicos wont allow it you see unless the rich are allowed to bleed our society where will they get the extra $$$ to give to the local body politic.
    Honestly Ron, I can not see any REAL change, until we have absolute public funding, and a total disallowance of corp. lobbying.
    Your friend Glenn

  7. robert smith says:

    Nonsense! It is the burden of you working people to support ever larger numbers of non-working poor and retired city employees.
    Benefits to the poor, the work-averse and retired city employees must increase each year for inflation even if your wages do not.
    It is irrelevant that you do not have a pension. retired city employees and the “poor” must be supported.
    Your selfish plans to retire or spend more time with your children are beside the point. Get back to work!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got another novel idea. How about rescinding Special Order 40 and deporting the Villaraigosa troll KK, little kk, and her opposite-sided, misdirected posts.

  9. Sandy S says:

    Cajones! to tell it the way it should be and be totally un-PC.

  10. MV says:

    i love this idea lets ge all city hall politicians and buy them one way fare to hell

  11. Santiago says:

    Time to transport all the illegal aliens who are a huge burden to Los Angeles taxpayers, back home south of the border.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It’s incredible. The people of Los Angeles are morons. Everyone knows why LAUSD schools under perform. It’s clearly because most students, the majority, are Mexicans and speak English as a second language. The kids have not been immersed in American culture and language to the extent that they need.
    Latino 81.1%
    Until you morons recognize the truth you will always be fumbling around and throwing more money at an elusive problem.

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