NEW YORK - Declaring that about 40,000 homeless people---most of them blacks and latinos---live in city shelters, the non-profit group Picture the Homeless is asking officials to conduct a census of vacant buildings and lots in the city to arrange affordable permanent housing for these people.
They took their demand to City Hall where political leaders have sat on the proposal for more than six months. The city is balking at the measure, claiming it would cost too much money.
"Actually, the cost of housing the homeless, which includes over 9,000 families with over 18,000 children, is far more costlier," said Marcus Moore, a leader of the homless advocacy group.
Founded by two homeless men in 1999, Picture the Homeless claims it is directed and run by homeless people. "By far, the vast majority of people occupying city shelters are blacks and latinos, women and children," noted Moore. "That does not include the street homeless, families waiting for shelter placements or the estimated 350,000 doubled-up households throughout the city," added the homeless advocate.