Bloomberg’s Homeless Plan Was Incredibly Ambitious
Some weeks after taking office, Mayor Bloomberg and his then homeless services commissioner, Linda Gibbs visited the Prince George. Located off the upscale 5th Avenue in Murray Hill, the Prince George is a 416-unit, low-income housing building for former street homeless people and New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.
The trip was part of an effort to get the mayor and his team up to speed by meeting with advocates and field professionals. A first, formal meeting gathered about half a dozen advocates and a similar number of commissioners, all direct or potential actors in the battle against homelessness — homeless services, human resources, children resources and housing agencies. This first meeting was followed by a series of smaller, sometimes one-on-one tours around specific issues so the mayoral team could learn in a hands-on manner.
Among the advocates at these meetings was Maureen Friar, then the executive director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, representing supportive housing providers across the city. Friar remembers a friendly administration looking for resolution. “Bloomberg brought in people interested in making things happen,” said Friar, who was behind the Prince George outing. “There was a real openness and willingness to learn.”
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