Turns out I was right:
Officials were on the defensive Thursday at a City Council hearing over a study that denies services to some people facing homelessness and tracks whether they end up in shelters.
"This study raises profound and serious ethical questions," said Councilwoman Annabel Palma, who chaired the packed hearing held by the general welfare committee.
Council members grilled city officials and researchers over whether people were given a choice to participate.
"You can opt out of the research, but you can't opt into the services," said Howard Rolston, of the research firm Abt Associates, as a murmur went through the crowd.
As first revealed by the Daily News, the city-funded study tracks 400 families on the verge of homelessness who are seeking housing assistance from a city program called Homebase.
Half the families get the emergency rental assistance, job training and other services the program offers. The other 200 were selected at random to be in a "control group" that would be denied services for up to two years.
During that time, researchers track both groups by social security number.
A recent Mayor's Management Report dubbed Homebase a "highly successful model" that helped keep 90% of its clients out of shelters.
Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said the study is necessary to decide if the program is worth its $23 million budget.
"Our current data .. . does not answer the most critical question, which is whether people would have accessed shelter but for the Homebase services," Diamond said.
And in Mayor Bloomberg's New York, the only thing that matters is the data.
This program is horrific.
If there were any justice in the world, Bloomberg would end up broke, just like Mortimer and Randolph Duke.
Or in a car with Charles and Camilla on the way to the theater as the people facing homelessness who have been denied services by Bloomberg got to express their thoughts about that program.