Bloomberg Says Homeless Shelters Too Pleasurable To Leave–The Worms And Rats Agree

08.24.12 David Lumb

Homeless families, some with up to eight children, are crowded into filthy rooms littered with rat feces and keep buckets in the room for nighttime bathroom needs since they don’t trust the bathrooms at midnight that they’re forced to share with strangers, the NY Daily News found at the Auburn Family Shelter in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The families find these conditions deplorable, obviously–and they were puzzled when Bloomberg went in front crowds on Thursday and proclaimed that the homeless shelter system had been much improved since he came into office–so much that people don’t want to leave.

“We have made our shelter system so much better that, unfortunately, when people are in it — or fortunately, depending on what your objective is — it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg trumpeted improvements to the system, which press noted had led to families with children staying 30% longer in shelters in 2012 than 2011. Before his tenure, service to the homeless was worse, Bloomberg said: “People were driven around all night. The kids slept on benches. None of that happens [today],” he said. “So there’s less pressure on people to move out.”

He did admit that it could have been partially due to the economy, but James Benson, 42, is only staying until he can move his wife and six kids out. Unfortunately, his job as an Avon representative cannot afford other housing at the moment, and so his family is stuck in a single, dirty room in Auburn:

“This place is not clean. I just saw worms in the bathroom,” Benson said. “They have roaches in the drinking water machines. It’s too much … This is temporary for us. But we are still human. We deserve some dignity while we find programs to get out.”

(Photo: H.L.I.T./Flickr)