Maxwell School, Syracuse University

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs


PAI 786 - Urban Policy
Professor Yinger


Case: New York City's Policies for the Homeless(1)

On November 16, 1999, an office worker in Midtown Manhattan was critically injured after a man deliberately struck her on the head with a brick. Well before they discovered the identity of this assailant, the police declared that he "may have been homeless."

Prompted by this event, Mayor Giuliani turned to the subject of homelessness on his weekly radio call-in show three days later. "Streets do not exist in civilized societies for the purpose of people sleeping there," he said. "Bedrooms are for sleeping, and a society moves as a progressive society as it convinces more and more people that they shouldn't be sleeping on its streets." He added that the right to sleep on the streets "doesn't exist anywhere. The Founding Fathers never put that in the Constitution."

In a telephone interview later that day, Police Commissioner Howard Safir said that if people sleeping on the sidewalks refused help from police and then "don't obey, we're going to arrest them." He said the homeless would first be offered services. If they refuse, he said, "We will either summons them or arrest them. If they're blocking people's access to property we'll move them along."

These statements brought a deluge of responses from advocates for the homeless, who said that this was the first time that the City had threatened the homeless with arrest as a broad policy. "Now the new plan being introduced by Safir is 'We're not going to take you to Bellevue, we're going to take you to Riker's Island'"? said Mary Brosnahan, the executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.(2) "It's not that these people have a right to freeze to death on the streets, Ms. Brosnahan said. "It's that they don't have enough housing."

Norman Seigel, the director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the mayor had no legal basis for his claims. "It's not a crime to sit or sleep on a public street, providing that you're not blocking the entrances or exits to buildings, and that you're not blocking pedestrian traffic," Siegel said. He added that the choice "cannot be living on the streets or locked up in jail."

Police officials responded by saying that Safir's announcement was simply a "re-emphasizing" of existing policy. Indeed, the next day his spokeswoman, Marilyn Mode, said that arrests would not increase. "There is simply not a crackdown on the homeless," she said.

The weekend following the attack, however, police officers swept through 850 locations across the city that are known as havens for the homeless. They arrested 23 homeless people, all for disorderly conduct, and referred another 127 people to shelters. By December 9, the police had made 2,161 "contacts" with the homeless. Of the people contacted in this way, 211 were arrested, 137 were issued summonses to appear later in court, 459 were sent to shelters, and 83 were taken to hospitals. Most of the rest were simply asked to move along. Before the Safir announcement, only 100 homeless people had been arrested in 1999.

Advocates for the homeless also said that the City's statements were bizarre in the wake of the Giuliani administration's announcement in October that the homeless would have to work to get shelter -- one of a list of new rules that those who want to keep their beds will have to obey. "Where's the logic here?" said Ms. Brosnahan. "We're going to round them up and bring them to a shelter, and if they refuse to work, they're going to be thrown back on the streets?"

Mayor Giuliani's comments about the homeless during his radio call-in show were not all negative. In fact, he cautioned against assuming that the assailant was mentally ill or homeless. Moreover, he declared that state and local government should do more to help the mentally ill. "If you were going to let people out of the mental institutions, then there have to be services, and those services have never been funded at the levels of which they should."

By the time the assailant was captured a couple weeks later, however, both Mayor Giuliani's and everyone else's positions had hardened to the point where facts were no longer relevant. The assailant turned out to be a long-time petty criminal and crack user with no known history of psychiatric problems -- and no evidence that he passed through the City's homeless shelter system during the last decade. Like many aggressive panhandlers and hustlers, the assailant seems to have used the street as his place of business rather than as his bedroom, except perhaps for brief periods. "Our information is that he was living with his girlfriend up until three days before the incident," a law enforcement official said. "He does have friends. He's not in and out of shelters."

Because of the inherent ambiguity in the concept of homelessness, this history can be read in many different ways. Mayor Giuliani bristled when a reporter suggested that the assailant might not have been homeless. "The man didn't have an address," the mayor said. "He was living at the Port Authority bus depot and panhandling. He fits every description of homelessness. The fact is, he was homeless."

Ms. Brosnahan was just as offended that anyone would depict the assailant as representative of homeless people. "He's a thug," she said, pointing out that he was arrested three weeks before the assault for mugging a homeless person. "Homeless people are far more likely to be preyed upon than to prey upon others. Maybe the problem," Ms. Brosnahan continued, "is that we have only one word, 'homeless,' that is supposed to suffice for the women fleeing domestic violence, the man with a five-year crack addiction, someone who just got burned our of their home. This is the variety in our waiting room every day."


Background: The Problem of Homelessness in the United States

On December 8, 1999, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the most comprehensive study of homelessness ever attempted. This study was based on interviews with 12,000 service providers and 4,000 homeless clients in 1995 and 1996. An estimated 470,000 homeless people sheltered on an average night in February 1996. This was only one-quarter of the people who were homeless at any one time during the year. Many more homeless do not visit shelters.

Although comparable data are not available for earlier years, these figures indicate that homelessness has persisted, and perhaps even grown despite the booming conditions in the U.S. economy. One of the most fundamental factors appears to be that increasing inequality has left a larger share of the population at incomes far below the national median while rising rents have cut back on the supply of affordable apartments. As a result, HUD estimates that 5.3 million poor families, a record number, now live in housing that is either substandard or else requires them to pay more than half of their income in rent. With such harsh housing market conditions, small changes in circumstances can push many poor individuals or families into homelessness.

The HUD survey found that of the homeless people served by shelters, soup kitchens, and other programs, almost half were in their first episode of homelessness, 44 percent had worked at least part time in the previous month, and 42 percent said that what they needed more than anything was help finding a job. But the homeless were also deeply impoverished and most were ill. Two-thirds were suffering from chronic or infectious diseases, not counting AIDS, 55 percent lacked health insurance, and 39 percent had signs of mental illness. Twenty-seven percent reported a childhood history of foster care or institutional placement.

Despite their handicaps, 60 percent of the homeless living alone and 76 percent of those living in families successfully left shelters for permanent housing when they received the services they needed, including housing subsidies, health care, substance-abuse treatment, education and job training.

When he released this report, Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of HUD, said that punitive ordinances and police crackdowns will not work. "You need outreach to get people off the street -- not a police officer with handcuffs. You need transitional services as a second step, and then by definition you need the third step, which is permanent housing."

Homeless people are among the poorest in the nation, with incomes averaging half the federal poverty level. Forty percent of those surveyed said they went without food one or more days in the previous month, compared with 3 percent of other poor Americans. Almost one-third of homeless clients surveyed said they had slept on the streets or in other places not meant for habitation within the week before the survey. Yet, those in central cities were better off than their counterparts surveyed in 1987, mainly because they were more likely to have government benefits like public assistance and food stamps.

The rates of mental illness were unchanged since the 1987 survey, a fact that suggests known solutions to the homelessness of the disabled -- treatment and supportive, permanent housing -- are not being fully used.

Serious childhood traumas were common among the homeless people surveyed, with 25 percent reporting childhood abuse, 33 percent having run away from home, and 21 percent having experienced homelessness as children. In addition, homeless people were predominantly male (68 percent) and relatively uneducated; 38 percent of the homeless had not completed high school, compared to 18 percent of the nation's population as a whole.

Cities around the country have responded to homelessness by implementing a variety of policies, both supportive and punitive. New York, Los Angeles, and other large cities have provided the most beds for the homeless, but they also have helped a smaller portion of their poor residents than some smaller cities like Minneapolis, San Francisco, and St. Louis.

In addition, however, complaints about beggars and bag ladies and mumbling, stumbling vagrants have been growing, so cities around the country are fighting as never before to move homeless people out of public spaces. In Sacramento, officials give homeless people one-way tickets out of town. In Santa Ana, it is illegal to sit in the Civic Center with belongings that occupy more than three cubic feet. In Atlanta, a person who asks for money more than twice from a passer-by who ignores the request can be arrested. In Seattle, those caught sleeping in parks can be banned from them. Of the 49 cities surveyed last year by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 73 percent were enacting or enforcing laws of this type, up from 26 percent in 1994.

City officials talk about "tough love" approaches to forcing homeless people to seek help, and about the growing impatience for what some call the "homeless by choice." "Homelessness has gone from being a societal problem to being a messed-up individual's problem," complained Paul Boden, a board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "There is an attitude that with unemployment at record lows, with the stock market at record highs, if you're poor, its your own fault."

"It's not rocket science to figure out that people become homeless because of the lack of affordable housing and support services for those who are mentally ill or addicted," said Mary Ann Gleason, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "Yet it's true that in many communities across the country, cities are responding in not very helpful ways to the growing need for affordable housing and accessible care. We continue to discharge people from prisons and hospitals into shelters. We continue to put people who need help with substance abuse on long waiting lists. And now, putting people in jail for doing in public what other people have the privilege to do in private seems to be the way to go."

Studies by Dr. Dennis P Culhane, associate professor of social welfare policy at the University of Pennsylvania, have found that homeless people come from the poorest neighborhoods, where people pay the most for their housing relative to income, they crowd together to afford housing costs, and they have the highest unemployment and temporary employment rates. their neighborhoods have the worst levels of housing abandonment. "We have found that evictions are the single biggest immediate cause of homelessness," said Professor Culhane.


Homelessness in New York City

It should come as no surprise that the number of homeless people in New York City dwarfs the number anywhere else in the country. On a typical fall night, over 20,000 people, about one-third of them single adults, sleep in shelters in New York City. Many more homeless people sleep on the streets or in make-shift shelters of their own. Overall, about 72,000 men, woman, and children seek shelter in the city each year.

The chronically homeless -- mentally ill, substance-abusing, or disaffected people who dominated the public image of the problem -- occupy half the single adult shelter beds at any one time. However, in the 1990s, many more people with fewer disabilities passed through the other single adult beds during housing emergencies. Of about 25,000 who entered the single system in a given year, half left after a week and did not come back. Another key group consisted of episodic shelter users, who stayed 60 days at a time before buying their way back into the housing market. They more often returned later, perhaps after a stint in prison or a hospital.

Homeless families represent a very different set of issues. On the whole, they have no more mental illness, drug abuse, or crime than similar poor families with housing, according to studies by Professor Culhane, who has analyzed shelter data for the city.

A key event in the history of homelessness in New York City was the State Supreme Court Decision in Callahan v. Carey, which was issued on December 5, 1979. According to this decision, the New York State constitution establishes a right to shelter. This decision requires New York City to provide minimal shelter, defined as a mattress, clean sheets, and soap, to homeless adults who are needy enough to qualify to public assistance, or who are physically or mentally disabled, or who are homeless by reason of "social dysfunction."

In 1981, the Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit organization, obtained a consent decree implementing this decision. This decree gave the Coalition the responsibility of monitoring what turned out to be a gulag of miserable City-run shelters. Over the last several years, and particularly during the Giuliani administration, the City has turned the shelters over to private groups offering a variety of social services and approaches.

As a result, the single adult shelter system now focuses on sorting people out and moving the more chronic and disabled into small rehabilitation programs run by private, nonprofit groups under City contracts, and then into permanent housing. City officials and advocates for the homeless agree that this new focus has been very successful; for example, almost 4,000 formerly homeless mentally ill people have been moved into supervised apartments. Moreover, people who make it into the best of the family shelters find service-rich programs with an emphasis on job training and placement and transition to permanent, usually subsidized housing. Maria Cuomo, a spokeswoman for a coalition of family shelter operators, said they had a 95 percent success rate, far better than the City's workfare program for welfare recipients. Recently, however, the supply of permanent housing has stalled as city and state officials argue over financing, and the number of people requesting entry into the shelter system has begun to rise again.

One of the key problems is that the presence of good options is not sufficient to bring homeless people into the shelter system. Consequently, there are now over 20 outreach programs, financed largely by the City. Nonprofit groups run them, and their staff members make slow, painstaking efforts to reach a population of largely dysfunctional people with problems ranging from drug addition to mental illness. These groups cannot force people to come for help, however, and convincing homeless people to accept help is not easy.

According to surveys by the Giuliani administration, on an average night in October 1999, the City's shelters for single adults were used by 6,728 single adults, but had room for 7,548. Deputy Mayor Joseph J. Lhota argues that these figures reveal the need for more stringent measures. "There appears to be some level of personal inertia on their part to enter the system," said Lhota.

Advocates for the homeless counter that the empty beds are the result of the mayor's more bureaucratic procedures at the door, which make it harder to qualify for space. "The general public doesn't understand how sick these people are, how difficult it is to engage them," said Constance Tempel, director of the New York office of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. "There are no quick solutions, but there are successes."

Whatever the interpretation of the extra beds in October, the cold weather in winter months will bring a surge of seasonal applicants for shelter, and the City's shelter system will find itself short of regular bed assignments for people seeking shelter for the first time, said Patrick Markee, a policy analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless. Many people come to an intake center and are then bused to one-night bed assignments around the city. Thanks to a shortage of "assessment beds," used to sort the homeless into more specialized shelter programs, like those for the mentally ill, people can be caught in this overnight circuit for weeks at a time.

The Giuliani Administration has also implemented two more controversial types of policy toward the homeless. First, in the mid-1990s, the police began rounding up the homeless in a series of sweeps around Manhattan. The homeless people caught in this net were either moved out of tourist areas or else faced arrest and court summonses for such public nuisance violations as impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic or sleeping in parks. Indeed, this so-called "quality-of-life initiative" is widely regarded as the model for similar programs that have been implemented in other cities. This initiative is also obviously the policy that came back into the limelight as a result of Mr. Safir's announcement on November 19, 1999.

Second, in 1996 the Giuliani administration imposed new, tighter eligibility procedures on the shelter system. The City says that the new rules were needed to screen out those abusing the system. Advocates for the homeless say that eligible families are repeatedly turned away to keep the shelter population down.

In October 1999, Mayor Giuliani proposed an even tougher set of eligibility requirements. Under the mayor's plan, nobody could receive shelter without satisfying a work requirement. The requirement would apply to families, as well as to single adults. Moreover, children could be placed in foster care if their parents failed to meet this requirement and other welfare rules. This plan would affect about 5,000 homeless families, including 9,000 children, who are now in City-financed shelters, as well as any families who apply for shelter and are disqualified for 30 days to six months because of welfare violations.


The Policy Choices

Funding Services for the Homeless

The complex array of shelters and services provided to the homeless in New York City requires a lot of funding. In fact, the City's budget for homeless services is now at $420 million, $40 million above the figure in the early years of the Giuliani administration. A large share of this money goes to support the private shelters and associated support organizations that serve the city's homeless population.

Mayor Giuliani is quick to highlight the $40 million increase in his budget for homeless services in 1999, saying that his administration has done more for the homeless than any other. In fact, however, this is the first year that Giuliani's spending for the homeless has reached the levels seen under Mayor David N. Dinkins. Moreover, this increase in spending is in large part a response to a recent increase in homelessness in the last two years, particularly among families.


Rules for Access to Shelter

Mayor Giuliani's proposal to tighten the eligibility requirements for shelter has stirred up a furious legal and policy debate.

The issue is not whether work requirements should ever be used. These requirements have been in place in many specialized shelters for several years. Even in this context, advocates for the homeless resisted these requirements at first, but now virtually all parties agree that they make sense as a tool to help control access to some shelters that provide intensive support programs. Instead, the issue is whether these requirements should be universal, governing access to all shelters, even those without any support services.

The Homeless Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society brought a lawsuit against the Giuliani administration in an effort to stop these new rules. "Somewhere in there, there is a solution to homelessness," said Stephen Banks, the director of this project. "And it's clearly the helping hand part, not the back of the hand part." Mr. Banks also insisted that the new rules conflict with the 1981 consent decree that requires the City to provide shelter to anyone who requests it. City officials point out, however, that homeless adults barred or ejected from shelters for failing to meet work and other requirements of public assistance will still be able to turn to eight "drop-in centers" around the city. These centers are intended as a gateway to the shelter system or other services for the street homeless, particularly the mentally ill. However, these centers provide no beds and clients have to sleep sitting up on chairs.

In mid-December, two judges from the State Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Banks and issued a temporary injunction against the new rules. These judges cited special concern for victims of domestic violence who might feel obligated to go back to their abusers and for mothers who might miss workfare appointments in order to care for their children. Advocates for the homeless applauded this decision and agreed than the rules could easily be abused. What if someone is wrongly evicted from a shelter? The mentally ill are supposed to be exempted, but what if their illness hasn't been diagnosed? What if someone gets confused by red tape?

Leonard Koener, the chief assistant corporation council for New York City said that the City's plan provided exceptions for such cases and numerous chances for parents to contest their penalties. He was confident that the judges' ruling would be overturned. Other City officials said that requiring work in exchange for shelter will help homeless people into gainful employment and independence, and keep them from using shelters to escape personal responsibility if they fail to follow public assistance rules. These officials maintain that very few people will actually be evicted, and that the policy has elaborate safeguards to protect against error. An eviction can be approved only after it has been reviewed by a series of supervisors, and the homeless person can challenge it in court and remain in the shelter until the matter is resolved.

Anthony Coles, a senior advisor to Giuliani, also vigorously defended the plan. "Virtually everybody who is concerned about improving the lives of homeless people believes that incorporating work into a person's life is the most effective way of moving toward self sufficiency," he said. A few City officials go even farther and insist that the new rules constitute the only philosophically defensible course of action. It is immoral, they say, for the public to subsidize self-destructive indolence in able-bodied people.

A survey by the Tier II Coalition, which represents the nonprofit agencies that run homeless family shelters under City contract, has determined that about 10 percent of the 5,000 families in Coalition shelters have public assistance cases that are closed or under welfare sanctions that would make them subject to expulsion. That's 500 families, said Fred Shack, president of the Tier II Coalition. It's very frightening." Gloria Nussbaum, executive director of the Coalition, agreed. "The City is proceeding with this misguided policy despite the best judgement of the nonprofits that have first-hand knowledge of the shelter system and the population it serves," she said. In fact, the Tier II coalition said its members were so upset that they would defy Mayor Giuliani's policy requiring that homeless families work as a condition of keeping their beds.

The mayor responded by saying that if the shelters disobeyed him, he would in effect shut them down. "If they don't follow the law, then they lose their contract." Mr. Giuliani said at a news conference. "The law says that you have to put people in a work situation if they're getting welfare, for their good, for their benefit. If they're so ideologically opposed to that they can't carry out the law, then of course they'll lose their contract."

Ms. Nussbaum said that if the mayor cut off the shelters' financing, thousands of families would be out on the street. "We're hopeful that we can work with the City on a policy that is more constructive." Mr. Banks argued that "Eviction is too extreme a sanction." Instead of throwing people out onto the street for not working, he proposes relegating them to what he calls "less richly serviced shelters." This strategy is known among social workers as the "bed of nails": Give the worst possible accommodations to people who refuse to work. Keep them safe and warm and nourished, but give them every possible incentive to move to shelters with better accommodations and food for those willing to begin rehabilitation. Such incentives already exist, but they could be increased. The question is whether it is possible to design a "bed of nails" that is not as harsh as sleeping in a chair but is as effective as a simple requirement to work.


The Role of the Police

Thanks to the assault on November 16, along with the related statements by Mayor Giuliani and Police Commissioner Safir, the role of the police in dealing with the homeless has also become the focus of much debate.

In later statements designed to clarify his renewed effort to keep the homeless from sleeping on city streets, Mayor Giuliani claimed that the attitudes of some homeless advocates toward people who sleep on the streets have been misguided. "There were times in which we romanticized this to such an extent that we invited people to do it. The idea is to deal with the problem." Giuliani said,"If someone is mentally ill, they should be dealt with as if they are mentally ill, not allowed to sleep on the streets."

Ms. Brosnahan disagreed. "We need to be focused on the ultimate solution," she said. "We know what works. We bring people in off the streets. We stabilize them. If they are mentally ill, we try to give them all their medication. Then we move them along to permanent housing." Ms. Brosnahan also argued that the new police crackdown "runs counter to everything we've learned over the past 20 years about how to help the homeless. The solution is to have legitimate outreach, not outreach with a sidearm." Councilman Stephen DiBrienza, a Brooklyn Democrat who is chair of the General Welfare Committee, was also upset about Giuliani's remarks. "There is such hypocrisy in his statements that it's hard to figure out if any part of it is at all well intentioned or is something that he'll follow through on," he said. "He reacts to the moment and, you know, generates comments for their headline value without regard to their policy implications."

Mr. Safir also expanded on the new role of the police. "The program is not about arrests," Safir said. "This program is about help. Somebody sleeping on the sidewalk is calling out for help. That is not a normal thing to do. Sidewalks are not for sleeping. Sidewalks are for walking. We do not arrest people for being homeless; we arrest people who commit crimes. Our people approach the homeless and offer them assistance, offer to take them to a hospital, offer to take them to a shelter. They are only arrested if they are committing a separate crime which has nothing to do with the fact that they are homeless." The City's legal justifications for the arrest of a homeless person include panhandling, obstructing traffic, illegal placement of boxes, shacks, mattresses or other property on a public street, urinating in public, lewdness and littering.

Norman Siegel, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, joined this debate. Mr. Siegel sent a letter the district attorneys in all five boroughs, imploring them not to prosecute homeless people taken off the streets at night. He argued that the crackdown on the homeless combined with the new work rules for shelters, both of which are of questionable legality, created a "whipsaw" effect that criminalized being homeless by pushing people out of shelters and into the streets, where they could then be arrested and put into jail.

On Thanksgiving, the Church of the Holy Apostles on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, which runs the city's largest soup kitchen, issued a public statement that assailed the mayor's "mean-spiritedness" and asserted "The policy of attacking the most vulnerable in our city in the midst of an economic boom for the majority is unworthy of the values we celebrate this holiday. This is another instance of 'criminalizing' the homeless, not for what they have actually done, but for simply who they are."


The Assignment

The recent debate about homelessness policy in New York City raises issues with great symbolism and great substantive interest. Not surprisingly, therefore, this debate has spilled over into the campaign for the U.S. Senate between Hillary Rodham Clinton, the First Lady, and Mayor Giuliani, whose candidacy is undeclared by universally acknowledged.

In a speech on November 29, Mrs. Clinton said: "Our political leaders must be judged on how they treat everyone, including the least fortunate. We must ask ourselves: do we solve problems or simply push them away, politicize them and criminalize them? Let me be absolutely clear. Breaking up families that are homeless is wrong. Criminalizing the homeless with mass arrests for those whose only offense is that they have no home is wrong. Locking up people for a day will not take a single homeless person off the streets."

Mayor Guliani responded by saying that Mrs. Clinton did not understand the full complexity of the New York City program. "To take some of the few situations in which someone's arrested and to try to make that into the whole program, could portray a misunderstanding of how the program works."

Mrs. Clinton also called for more federal money for housing and for programs that treat mentally ill people. She said that 250,000 households in New York are on a eight-year-long waiting list for federally subsidized housing, and she said "I will fight hard to triple new housing vouchers and target them to areas with highest need."

Deputy Mayor Lhota complained that Mrs. Clinton wanted to "turn back the clock" on homeless policy. "Unfortunately, Hillary just doesn't get it," Mr. Lhota said. "New York City spends more money on the homeless than any other community in America. Our strategy is to get as many people as possible off the streets to get the services that we pay for."

Now it is the spring of 2000 and you have a chance to join this debate. The New York City Council is holding a hearing on policy toward the homeless. You have been asked to testify. This hearing will focus on three issues: (1) Should New York City increase or decrease the amount of money it spends on programs for the homeless? Which types of programs should be cut or expanded? (2) Should New York City make work a requirement for access to all City-funded shelters? If not, what requirements should it impose? (3) Should New York City continue to use the police as a key part of its policy toward the homeless, both as a method of intake and as a way to minimize the externalities that homeless people impose on other citizens?

The City Council has asked you to make a brief presentation at this hearing with your answers to these questions. If you wish, you may also submit a two-page (600 word maximum) memorandum to the City Council.



Nina Bernstein, "Lawyers for Homeless Seeking to Block New Rules," The New York Times, November 27, 1999.

Nina Bernstein, "City Will Take More Time to Impose Shelter Work Rules," The New York Times, December 1, 1999.

Nina Bernstein, "Seeking to Label the Homeless, With Compassion or Contempt," The New York Times, December 5, 1999.

Nina Burnstein, "Homeless are Impoverished and Ill, Survey Finds," The New York Times, December 8, 1999.

Nina Burnstein, "State Court Halts Giuliani Plan to Make Homeless Families Work for Shelter," The New York Times, December 9, 1999.

Jayson Blair, "Sharpton Condemns the City's Crackdown on the Homeless," The New York Times, November 28, 1999.

Elisabeth Bumiller, "In Wake of Attack, Guiliani Cracks Down on Homeless," The New York Times, November 20.

Elisabeth Bumiller, "Mayor Defends Homeless Efforts as a Carefully Coordinated Plan." The New York Times, December 9, 1999.

Elisabeth Bumiller, "Shelters Vow to Defy Mayor on Work Rule," The New York Times, December 18, 1999.

Bob Herbert, "Bullying the Homeless," The New York Times, November 29, 1999, op-ed page.

David M. Herszenhorn, "Citywide Sweep Leads to 23 Arrests of the Homeless, The New York Times, November 22, 1999.

David M. Herszenhorn, "Seeking Common Ground in the Debate on the Homeless," The New York Times, November 23, 1999.

David M. Herszenhorn, "Safir Defends Effort to Keep Homeless Off Streets at Night, The New York Times, November 25, 1999.

Jonathan P. Hicks, "Hillary Clinton Attacks Arrests of Homeless," The New York Times, November 30, 1999.

Evelyn Nieves, "Cities Try to Sweep Homeless Out of Sight," The New York Times, December 7, 1999.

Joyce Purnick, "Hard Truths on Homeless Come Slowly," The New York Times, December 2, 1999.

Somini Sengupta, "Ten Arrested at Rally Against Crackdown on Homeless," The New York Times, December 7, 1999.

John Tierney, "Left and Right Switch Hats on Homeless," The New York Times, January 8, 2000.


1. This case was written by Professor John Yinger solely for the purposes of class discussion. All the quotations and some of
    the sentences in the text are taken directly from the newspaper articles in the bibliography.

2. Bellevue is a hospital for the mentally ill and Riker's Island is a prison.


Trustee Professor of Public Administration and Economics