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LGBT & straight protest NY mayor’s homeless policies

Published Jul 2, 2008 10:09 PM

Members of Picture the Homeless and the Radical Homosexual Agenda joined forces on June 24 for a protest at the Gracie Mansion where billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg was hosting a dinner and reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month. The date of the event was the fourth anniversary of Bloomberg’s Five-Year Plan on Homelessness. Protesters chanted, “Homeless people, straight and gay, we need housing right away!”

An e-mail from the Radical Homosexual Agenda posted on progressive LGBT listserve describes Bloomberg’s program: “In 2004, he had promised that his policies of privatization would drastically reduce homelessness in New York City within five years. But on this, the four-year mark of his program, the number of homeless people remains extremely high.... In fact, shelters are so full—approximately 34,000 people a night at last count—they’re turning people away....

“Mayor Bloomberg could learn a lot from Picture the Homeless if he sat down to talk with them. Recently, PTH worked with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to conduct a survey of the city—they found that there are more than enough empty buildings to house each and every homeless person in New York. PTH advocates not only opening these buildings for housing, but also shifting Department of Homeless Service budgets from shelters to rent assistance.”

Despite the event being billed as an LGBT pride reception, RHA reports their queer delegates were turned away from Gracie Mansion when they attempted to attend the dinner. They urge people to get involved by visiting www.picturethehomeless.org or www.homelessyouthservices.org, a Web site listing services for homeless LGBT youth.

—LeiLani Dowell