Out-of-towners live large at free shelters

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Big Brother

Thank you very mooch, NYC!


  • Last Updated:  11:19 AM, April 1, 2013
  • Posted: 1:21 AM, April 1, 2013


For out-of-towners seeking “four-star’’ accommodations here, there’s The Waldorf, The Pierre, The Plaza — and the city’s homeless shelters.

“People pay $3,000 for an apartment here, and I get to live here for free!” said Michal Jablonowski, 25, who moved back to the city from his native Poland three years ago and is now staying in a Bowery shelter.

“I have food. I have health care. It’s great,’’ Jablonowski said. “Here, the city supports you. The city helps you with everything.’’

City shelters boasting generous resources have increasingly become havens for out-of-towners, statistics show.

Natan Dvir

‘People pay $3,000 for an apartment here, and I get to live here for free!’ -Michal Jablonowski 25, of Poland, who returned to New York three years ago and lives at this shelter on The Bowery, courtesy of the city’s taxpayers
Nearly one in four of the city’s single homeless people who entered the system in December 2012 listed their last address as outside the city.

“We get breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have a microwave and TV. They do the laundry for free,” noted Jablonowski, who lived in New York for years before going back to his homeland, only to return here to a freebie life.

Jablonowski said he even gets a prepaid cellphone — allowing 1,000 texts and 300 minutes a month — through Medicaid and boasted, “I’m going to get my teeth fixed.”

“I love New York because you cannot starve in New York, you can always find food and clothes,” he said.

“The shelters are really nice. You have clean sheets. You get to watch TV and stay in the warm. Homeless people have it so good, they don’t want to look for a job.’’

Last month, Mayor Bloomberg blasted the 30-year-old city decree that gives free shelter to anyone who says they need it.

“You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport, take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system, walk in the door and we’ve got to give you shelter,” the mayor fumed.

Taxpayers shell out $3,000 a month to feed, house and provide other services to each homeless person. The average stay in a city shelter is as long as nine months — although there’s no limit.

“Some people in here have it better than people working 9 to 5, because they’re not paying rent. I’ve stayed in hostels worse. I call this four stars,” said William Sullivan, who came to the city from LA for a job that fell through.

“Everyone in this place has a silver spoon in their mouth. You get fed three to four meals a day, and the food here is great.”

A Michigan woman who arrived in December said she was drawn to New York for the “adventure.”

“New York is New York! That’s why people come here,” said Amy Kaufman, 41, who is staying in a city-funded Chelsea shelter.

“I go to the library, and I go sightseeing a lot in Times Square and Chelsea. I like it here.

“I’m staying here for a while because the housing options are better. Michigan is in a recession right now.”

Even reverse snowbirds from Florida would rather suffer through a brutal New York winter than be homeless in their own state. Florida is the second-most popular last address for out-of-town homeless.

“Survival in Florida was a lot harder than here. There are a lot more resources here for homeless, especially in terms of housing and finding transitional housing,” said Steve Rios, 49, who came up from the Sunshine State.

“I left Florida because the environment of the shelters and rules weren’t as good. In Florida, they throw you out quick. There was a lot of drug use and addicts. It was bad,” he said.

Rios, who is staying at the BRC homeless shelter on West 25th Street, says they give him everything he needs.

“We get a cafeteria, a bed and clothing. My case worker is helping me prepare a package for housing,” he said.

There were 48,553 people in city shelters last week — including 9,923 single adults and roughly 10,000 families.




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