Two years after finding an apartment through Mayor Bloomberg's signature program for housing homeless families, Tracey Provencal and her daughter are back in a shelter.
"If I could have just stayed in my apartment, everything would be fine," Provencal, 40, said through tears.
The program, called Advantage, was supposed to help both homeless families and taxpayers by easing struggling families out of expensive shelters and into less costly apartments.
Advantage pays about $1,100 a month toward rent for no more than two years and requires at least one member of the family to work at least 20 hours a week. That compares with the $3,000 a month cost for housing a family in a shelter.
The idea was that after two years, the stabilized family would begin paying its own way. Things didn't work out that way.
Of the 7,272 families who left the program, about 51% ultimately wound up either obtaining other subsidized housing or reapplying for shelter. Of the 2,190 that reapplied, 1,461 were back in shelters as of January.
All told, 20,000 families have participated in Advantage since it began in 2007. Some 13,000 are still in it, but Bloomberg plans to kill the program to help close the city's budget gap.
"The Advantage program is little more than a revolving door back to homelessness for many vulnerable children and families, as well as a costly burden for taxpayers," said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless.
As for a comment about this Daily News story that the Bloomberg Advantage Program is a revolving door for homeless people and helps nobody but landlords, a mayoral spokesman said "Things will get even worse if the last in, first out layoff rules Mayor Bloomberg is fighting to change are not changed."
OK, I made that last part up.
But it's plausible, isn't it.
It's also plausible that given how this program for homeless people works, Bloomberg just doesn't give a shit about homeless people.