Andrew Cuomo

It's Winter! Time to Intern the Homeless!

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to force homeless people into shelters.


Fortunately, the governor refrained from deputizing the Hell's Angels to enforce the order.
Maysles Films

Yesterday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring social service agencies throughout the state to extend shelter hours and take other steps to ensure a roof is available to the homeless. Less benevolently, it required state and local police to locate homeless people who are "unwilling" to enter the shelters, and to force them into those institutions when the temperature falls below freezing. It "is clear and well-established," the order claims, "that the State can take appropriate steps, including involuntary placement, to protect individuals from harming themselves."

This has gotten pushback from civil libertarians, from homelessness activists, and from the City of New York. (The context of Cuomo's order includes an ongoing public-pissing match between Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.) Not surprisingly, a lot of homeless people are upset about it too. The New York Daily News reports:

"Hell no, I won't go to a shelter! How's that even lawful? You can't force people off a public street," said Luis Diaz, 31, who was shivering with his girlfriend on a Midtown streetcorner as temps hovered in the mid-40s.

"It's going to be crazy. They don't have enough room. They don't have the infrastructure to do this. Where are they going to put us? If they're shoving us in shelters with crazies and people who can't handle being in there, there is going to be a lot of fights. We're safer out here."

"I feel violated by this," added William Sanders, 45, who said he considered it "cruel and unusual punishment" to be forced into a shelter, where he said he has faced hostility from other residents because of sores on his legs but has been unable to get medical services.

"There is going to be anger and violence in the shelters if we go against our will. They are putting us in a really bad situation," he said.

According to the Daily News, some officials are now "saying people would not be forced to leave the sidewalks." But it also quotes the governor defending the idea of coercing New Yorkers into shelters: "If I get sued for keeping people safe and getting people in from the cold because they were endangering themselves, so be it." That doesn't sound like a man backing down.

A while back I blogged one homeless man's explanation for why he avoids the shelters. In addition to citing safety issues, he noted the unpleasantness of being a law-abiding non-addict in a place whose rules are "designed to try to keep alcoholics, drug addicts and criminals from being able to do those things." Obviously, his cost/benefit calculations might change in extremely cold weather; but that ought to be his choice to make, not the state's.

In any event, Cuomo's order is yet another example of the convergence of the welfare state with the criminal justice system. For more on that topic, go here, here, and—for a more historical view—here.

NEXT: Mainstream Media Finally Takes Interest in Massive Discrepancy Between Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi Families

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  1. So Governor Cuomo is going to force homeless people into shelters at the barrel of a gun (after all, if they refuse to go, what’s going to happen?). This will certainly go well, and the NYPD, well known for their restraint, will certainly not make things worse for everyone.

    1. Exactly this.

      Cops show up. ‘Hey you, get over here right now, did you hear me, hands u… *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*. Well, we just cleared up another spot in the shelters, on to the next.

      Maybe Cuomo already thought of this scenario and decided it’s best to just make the NYC homeless issue go away.

  2. What an asshole.

    Sic the NYPD on the homeless. That’ll work out well.

    1. Denver did one better. They made being homeless illegal, and worthy of arrest on its face.

      They call it “urban camping” though, so that makes it okay. We don’t want people setting up deer blinds at the Cherry Creek mall, fercrissakes.

      1. I spent half a year homeless in Boulder and experienced what it’s like to have the cops try to run you out of town. Then when I finally saved enough for first/last/deposit and got an apartment, the harassment continued. Once you’re on their radar as an undesirable, they never let it go.

        1. I cured being homeless in Denver by hitchhiking out of town. It was a vast improvement.

          1. I’m sure it was. That city sucks.

            1. In the 6 years I lived in Denver, I can’t count how many times I was arrested or detained by the cops. It’s over 10. I’m a pretty harmless person, but I don’t look like an Aryan, so I was shit out of luck in that town. To this day I still have “prohibitive noise” on my record.
              Fuck Denver.

    2. The NYPD has been sicced on the homeless for a long, long time. It’s just that previously the cops would tell them to get the fuck out of town or else. Now they’re going to “for their own good” them. Which is almost assuredly worse.

      1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

        ? C.S. Lewis

        1. So are you saying I should reread The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?

          1. No. They weren’t that good the first time around. Anne of Green Gables seems much more your speed.

            1. I’ll start those, but I have to finish my Nancy Drew marathon first.

              1. Now shipping my entire Nora Roberts collection to Epi…

                1. That’s pointless. He already has her collected works. First editions.

      2. I would say you can count on it. Suspect refused to comply, for their own good, another one off the street.

        Cuomo: Look, NY has solved it’s homeless problem!

      3. Of course, but as this is a more limited and focused operation, I assume the meddling will be increased. That’s if de Blasio and the NYPD cooperate.

      4. previously the cops would tell them to get the fuck out of town or else

        I’ve been seeing the exact same three homeless people wandering around my area in Bay Ridge for nearly 10 years now. If that’s their policy they’re not doing a very good job of it.

  3. It “is clear and well-established,” the order claims, “that the State can take appropriate steps, including involuntary placement, to protect individuals from harming themselves.”

    Dear Slavers,

    Fuck off.

  4. Is he being positioned for Hillary’s VP?

  5. Grime in the concrete niches and the trash-splattered yards of decaying metal monsters offer respite from the madness of normalized culture. Freedom is often discovered lounging near rust and angry weeds. The fucking seering lights of your goddamn violent warmth should never be forced onto those who wander the cemeteries of man’s structures.

  6. It “is clear and well-established,” the order claims, “that the State can take appropriate steps, including involuntary placement, to protect individuals from harming themselves.”

    Of course they *can*, you moron.

    *** waits for Cuomo to ban skiing ***

    1. Skiing and distance running are the go to activities I cite when a proggie suggests that we must ban an activity because of its adverse health effects.

    2. Ah, see, I read that and didn’t notice that critical “can” word, and I was thinking “ummm…citation needed.”

      But when you put it that way…

      It’s well established that dogs can come leave a steaming dump on your face while you’re sleeping, too. Doesn’t mean that they’re getting a treat in the morning.

  7. Cuomo is batshit crazy (really, look at his photos). He is governor of New York.

    But then I repeat myself.

    1. Are you here all week?

  8. If I get sued for keeping people safe

    But the people being rounded up say they are being forced into a dangerous situation, not a safe one. That fact seems to escape him.

    Oh, I see. It’s not the homeless he is trying to keep safe – the homeless aren’t even people.

  9. Well, it’s better than interring them.

    1. Given the shortage of room in the shelters my money is on putting the overflow behind bars, for their own good of course.

    2. That bastard Cuomo will probably make them work for free, too.

  10. You ever see the body of a homeless man frozen to a steam grate?

    I have.

    I don’t like the idea of people being forced into shelters.

    So give me a better solution to dealing with people so damaged that they’ll decide that ‘sleeping rough in freezing weather is a good idea.

    If there’s bodies a lot of the same crowd screaming about their ‘civil liberties’ today will scream just as loudly about ‘letting them die’.

    1. Yeah, I have. I have seen rats gnaw on a homeless guy’s body for three days. So what?

      You are looking at someone else’s problem and deciding that you must find a solution in spite of their wishes. You know better than they do, right? Think about that for a bit. That is the root of all tyranny.

    2. So give me a better solution to dealing with people so damaged that they’ll decide that ‘sleeping rough in freezing weather is a good idea.

      No. They’re allowed to do that if they want to.

    3. Churches and private homeless groups seem to be able to do this without forcing them at gunpoint.

      Some people won’t go, either because they have mental issues or they just don’t want to. Tough to tell which without a program.

      1. They do, but they get pushback from their neighbors. In my town the churches rotate shelter hosting – this divides the responsibility and cost among the participating congregations, but also keeps the homeless from “settling” any one place.

    4. Sleeping outside in rough weather is very survivable. I’ve done it hundreds of times, going back to camping as a kid when we did it for fun.

      It’s complicated a bit when your fellow citizens rule that you oughtn’t to be allowed to use a blanket, or proper gear, because it’s unsightly. There’s no shortage of people who firmly believe that a homeless person sitting in a public park is preventing “the public” from enjoying the park by their mere presence. Clearly, “the public” does not include homeless people.

      The most important part of the phrase ‘homeless people’ is homeless, not people. Which explains your attitude problem, slaver.

      Also, don’t be such a hand-wringing pussy.

      1. And the magic of refresh proves that I am so, so correct. Again.

        Life would be simpler if y’all just conceded that I am always right.

    5. So give me a better solution to dealing with people so damaged that they’ll decide that ‘sleeping rough in freezing weather is a good idea.

      Allow cheap rooming houses, fka flophouses, to operate.

      1. “Allow cheap rooming houses, fka flophouses, to operate.”

        Yup. Manhattan used to be awash in these SROs, but the do gooders outlawed them for their own good.

        1. the do gooders outlawed them for their own good

          Conveniently, the do gooders happened to be the same people as the increasingly-wealthy NIMBY coalition moving into these areas.

      2. See? THIS is an idea–

        Allow cheap rooming houses, fka flophouses, to operate.

        Much better than the snark.

    6. If they have been offered help and declined, then it’s entirely their problem if they freeze to death.

      The only better option you need as an alternative to forcing people into shelters is not forcing people into shelters.

    7. How about free rides to homeless shelters for those that want it? Otherwise, avoid turning homeless shelters into concentration camps?

      Even when someone wants to invoke government on behalf of the poor, one can usually think of a better government solution than the one the actual government comes up with. It’s quite telling.

      Given the choice, I’d much rather have tax dollars go to shuttling homeless people to shelters that they voluntarily want to go to, rather than enforcing, say, the drug war. Too bad that neither are an option. Thanks, government!

  11. OT: Anyone else notice the steep decline in Tony/shreek comments?

    Obumbles is a lame duck now so I guess he needs less shilling. The few comments they do put up are probably on their own dime, done out of habit.

    1. Maybe he got a job and moved out of his mom’s basement.

      1. To steal a line from sage…


        Or, well, I guess Zaxby’s could be hiring.

        1. Now, now. All sorts of grocery stores and fast food restaurants are willing to hire the mentally infirm.

    2. Shrike is busy dealing with this “market correction”.

    3. Oh, don’t worry. Tony and Shreek are just compiling their excuse list for jumping on the cankles wagon. Since grandma may fall apart at any moment, they don’t want to jump too soon. But jump they will.

  12. I like to think that if I was homeless, I would be a smart enough bum to winter in Miami or San Diego.

  13. “that the State can take appropriate steps, including involuntary placement, to protect individuals from harming themselves.”

    What could possibly go wrong?

  14. I read the headline and thought Reason was moving from orphan interns to the homeless as interns.

    1. The homeless are not functional enough for that. Orphans can be trained from a young age with the right amount of swill and the lash.

      1. Swill, eh?

        Maybe it is time to update my training methods from “lash and more lash”…

        1. Keep them nice and thin, and their rum ration goes a lot further, in my experience.

  15. I was talking about Seattle’s homeless crisis with a friend the other day. IF you drive around Seattle, there’s almost no green space, bridge, underpass, overpass or “unused” land that doesn’t have a little tent encampment.

    Homelessness, as a visible crisis is noticeably worse than it ever was in the late 80s when homelessness was a nightly news topic (all the fault of Reaganomics) with continuous breathless reporting.

    I can’t say in the case of Seattle whether the homeless I’m seeing are newly minted or have been attracted to Seattle because Seattle essentially pays people to be homeless. That’s another debate. But what I can say is this, there are really only two choices: The homeless aren’t newly minted and are being drawn here in record numbers by policy, or they ARE newly minted and this happened on the Progressives’ watch.

    1. The sheer number of homeless didn’t bother me so much as how fucking young they seemed in Seattle as opposed to other places and how aggressive they were in panhandling.

      1. Of course everyone dresses like a homeless person there so it’s easy to get confused.

          1. I’ve snuck into Paul’s house to smell his hair and try on his underwear, and I think he’s a very snappy dresser.

      2. I noticed exactly this when I lived in SF. The west coast seems to attract a lot of gutter punks. The east coast homeless OTOH are more of the mentally-unstable variety.

    2. Could be both.

    3. Don’t worry. The Great One from the Whitehouse in DC is going to walk by all of them and allow them to touch the hem of his garment. Then all their worries will be washed away and the seas will stop rising and unicorns and dogs shall sleep together. Amen.

    4. It’s bad in Bal’mer as well. I’d see tent camps on MLK Blvd on my daily commute, but they get taken down after a while.

      But, every, and I mean *every*, intersection has at least 1 person begging, sometimes one on each corner in the intersection.

      1. I typically avoid MLK, the traffic is horrible. If I’m coming into the city from the south, I usually get off on Conway or Pratt depending on how I came in. I never did see a tent on MLK, but there were always beggers out there every day. The one’s I hate are the ones that try to wash your windshield. If you want to beg fine, but don’t fucking touch my car.

        1. Squeegee men?! Ah, an old classic.

          It’s gotten somewhat worse in NYC over the past few years but I haven’t seen any tents myself.

  16. Oh, come on. Even cops need a few months to allow their knuckles to heal.

    Have a heart.

    1. That is what the asp baton was invented for!

  17. It’s not okay to live on the streets and sidewalks. It’s not okay to take over public parks with filthy encampments so that parents are afraid to take their kids there. If the shelter system sucks, then figure out a better option.

    1. The homeless have just as much a right to be in the park as your kids do. And for the record, the homeless here seem to do a way better job sharing the space with others.

    2. You, unsightly person! You can’t stay there! That’s public property!

    3. I know, right? Why can’t these bums just die?

    4. *SLAP*

      Haven’t you got something better to do with your time, like blow your husband under the dinner table? You know what he thinks about you talking to people.

        1. lauranyc ?@lauranyc 16 Apr 2015
          I don’t think I can forgive @nytimes for getting rid of the home section.
          0 retweets 0 likes

          Says it all, really.

          1. Yikes, where do liberals go to find their million-dollar condos now?

    5. Laura, you are really clueless about that whole libertarianism thing, aren’t you?

    6. If the shelter system sucks, then figure out a better option.

      Stop paying people to be homeless?

    7. Kitten-glitter hearts relish armbars and blue-mottled skin.

    8. We could hook them up to giant hamster wheels to help green power along. What you think, lauranyc? You seem to be the compassionate sort that we can rely upon to solve these problems. Have you thought of running for public office?

  18. Speaking of “Gimme Shelter”, anyone hear the cover by Stone Sour w/ Lzzy Hale? Pretty cool. And she is one of the few female vocalists who can actually arouse me, just by the sound of her voice. YOWZA!

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