Father Santora’s response was non-responsive
Jun 16, 2013 | 3316 views | 4 4 comments | 154 154 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I found myself amused by Father Alex Santora’s letter personally attacking me in the June 9 issue of the Hoboken Reporter. It was a clever response to my letter the previous week.

Nonetheless, I might point out that Father Santora does not deny his role in single-handedly shutting down a fully-funded effort to use Our Lady of Grace’s largely abandoned convent as a residence for single, pregnant women as a way of encouraging these women to consider an alternative to having an abortion. Apparently, Father Santora feels that such actions by a Roman Catholic priest – acting in his capacity as pastor of a parish – merit no explanation. Ditto his decision to personally attack a political figure also while acting in his official capacity as pastor of a religious congregation.

We live in interesting times.



Michael Evers
Parishioner
Our Lady of Grace Parish

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wip
|
June 17, 2013
reader's comments to today's New York Times editorial (just also posted here)

New York

NYT Pick

This is an important and overdue call to action.

But it ignores a major factor in the 73% increase in family homelessness in New York: RENT deregulation.

Hundreds of thousands of affordable apartments have become "market" rate, forcing families out of their homes as rents skyrocketed through gentrification and the early 2000's financial boom.

New low-income housing projects are a noble idea, and we surely need more shelters to address immediate needs, BUT we need to *prevent* homlessness and that means making NYC once again a place where working-class and middle-class folks can live.

We need strong, modern rent-stabilization laws, so that affordable housing is a reality for the majority of New Yorkers.

June 17, 2013 at 7:29 a.m.

Recommended70

akmarkowitz

NYC

NYT Pick

It's not all the mayor's fault. Federal monies for Section 8 and the Advantage program have been cut in the last few years. There are no new Section 8 or Advantage vouchers available now. Governor Cuomo, who used to be a big advocate of homeless people, hasn't done enough to create affordable housing with state grants, either. Here's an idea: how about developers, perhaps using local labor, getting tax breaks and government grants to renovate existing, empty housing that can then be priced for homeless families? And how about MORE money going to subsidize people in their current apartments so they don't become homeless?

June 17, 2013 at 7:59 a.m.

Recommended27

ProSkeptic

New York City

NYT Pick

If you're consistent about "let[ting] mother nature (sic) take care of the problem," then I'm sure you opposed the many billions of dollars allocated to helping those who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy. Not to mention the additional billions given to the MTA to help restore subway service. If Mother Nature really had her way, New York would have a couple of million fewer inhabitants than it does currently.

In reply to andrew

June 17, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

Recommended10

Nancy Hoffman

Jackson, WY

NYT Pick

The good mayor now is proposing composting. How about the 50,000 homeless in the city and almost half are children. He has his priorities all wrong. Don't human basic needs come first?

June 17, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.

Recommended14

LaContra

Odessa

NYT Pick

Just to put this in perspective.

London on any given night has just under 400 people 'sleeping rough' (meaning on the street and parks with no accommodation of any kind)...

This in itself is considered a national tragedy.

A further 1600 are in temporary accommodation such as nightly charity shelters across the city.

The rest of the 16000 are homeless by the definition that they themselves have no "permanent home' but live in inner city hotels, bed&breakfasts, or shared facility accommodation which is all .subsidized by the government.

When the term 'homeless' is used most people (myself included) tend to think of the first two groups....the visible contingent of street people and emergency shelter users.

I'm not sure people who lack a legally binding document such as a residency lease but have subsidized and permanent accommodation provided for by the state should still be considered as 'homeless'....

Still, London has 18,000 homeless of which a mere 400 are actually living on the streets

I think New York has a long way to go in tackling their problem
wip
|
June 17, 2013


The Forgotten 50,000

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Published: June 16, 2013 130 Comments

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More than 50,000 New Yorkers slept in city homeless shelters and on the streets last night. About 21,000 were children. These numbers are huge and appalling, higher than they were in 2002, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, higher than in the dismal days of the fiscal crisis, the Reagan ’80s and the surly administration of Rudolph Giuliani.

Related

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New Yorkers who have no permanent place to live form a small city unto themselves — an abandoned one. The shelter population has risen 61 percent while Mr. Bloomberg has been mayor, propelled by a 73 percent increase in homeless families, according to the Coalition for the Homeless, whose relentless advocacy has been provoking mayoral fury since the 1980s. These surging numbers — of families with children, especially — undercut claims that New York is steadily becoming a better place to live, and that its government has gotten better at helping its most vulnerable citizens meet their most basic needs.

The next mayor will have to do better by them than Mr. Bloomberg. He once proposed energetic and aggressive initiatives on behalf of the homeless. Now he speaks of them with resentment: “You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport,” the mayor said recently, “take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system and walk in the door and we’ve got to give you shelter.”

He is right that city law grants a right to shelter, the result of a hard-fought legal battle that Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly tried to undermine. But he is wrong to imply that the greatest strains on the shelter system come from out-of-towners who have no city roots, or that this crisis is somehow the fault of lawyers and judges.

That isn’t true, and it is a diversion from the real problem. His administration is meeting its legal obligation by filling the city’s shelters to bursting. But it has failed to keep its promises to significantly shrink the shelter population by giving people the means to live independently and enough paths to permanent housing.

Previous mayors tackled the problem with the assistance of federal programs, helping families in shelters obtain Section 8 rent vouchers and federal public-housing apartments managed by the New York City Housing Authority. So did the Bloomberg administration, for a while. But it broke with those policies in 2005, substituting short-term rent subsidies, which it then abruptly terminated in 2011. That was when homeless families started returning to shelters at an accelerating rate and at great expense. It costs taxpayers an average of $36,799 a year to shelter a family, according to city data, far more than it would to simply subsidize its rent.

With six months left in Mr. Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure, the crisis will be the next mayor’s to solve. The problems of housing and homelessness are intertwined, fed by many unrelated things: joblessness and the lagging economy, deficiencies in mental-health and addiction care that force vulnerable men and women onto the streets, the simple lack of affordable units and a widening gap between incomes and market rents. The mayoral candidates need to offer solutions that are multifaceted, too, in an era of ever-dwindling federal and state aid.

A coalition of more than a hundred community organizations and advocacy groups, created in April to call attention to the growing crisis, has called for restoring rent subsidies and legal services to protect families from eviction and foreclosure, giving the homeless priority access to low-income housing, and expanding supportive housing for the disabled and mentally ill — all good ideas. Mr. Bloomberg’s Homebase program, begun in 2004 to help residents of some high-poverty neighborhoods avoid eviction, now serves about 11,000 families a year — a worthwhile effort but only a piece of the broader solution.

The Democratic candidates generally agree on some approaches, like getting developers to include affordable housing in their projects. Comptroller John Liu has proposed a rental-voucher program that he says could save the city $237 million annually in shelter costs. The city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, has laid out perhaps the most comprehensive housing plan; he wants to create 100,000 and preserve 90,000 affordable housing units in eight years, in various ways, including converting thousands of illegal units into rent-stabilized apartments. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also wants a new rental subsidy program for homeless families and promises to build 40,000 “middle income” units. William Thompson Jr. has an antipoverty plan that includes more Section 8 vouchers for homeless families. Anthony Weiner talks of cutting red tape to get more affordable units built.

Joseph Lhota and John Catsimatidis, Republican candidates, speak of market solutions. So does the Republican George McDonald, who has spent years aiding homeless New Yorkers through his charity, the Doe Fund, which offers job training as a path to a paycheck and an apartment. He says the Doe Fund’s approach should be vastly scaled up, which is one reason he is running for mayor.

The city looks cleaner, safer and richer in gentrifying neighborhoods, many lined with luxury high-rises and new amenities, like rental bicycles. But it looks vastly different from the intake center for homeless families in the South Bronx, or the shelter for men on East 30th Street, or the other sites where tens of thousands of New Yorkers are languishing, out of sight and out of mind of the larger city.
wip
|
June 16, 2013
How about housing single women in the building, as the Y only houses men. We have so many struggling people around us.

Where are our ethics?

roseo
|
June 17, 2013
Totally agree with this comment. In the not so distant past all Catholic schools/churches had a convent nearby to house the teaching nuns. They were dormitory type accommodations with a kitchen, dining room,laundry area & a common room for for nuns. The world has changed. There are fewer nuns but a growing need for affordable housing/rooms for women.

As mentioned above, the local YMCA has worked hard to provide housing for men in need. We do not have a local YWCA to fill the same for women. It would be wonderful if a way could be found to provide housing for women in these underutilized convents. Remember when there was no room at the Inn? Now there are rooms but how do you get in?