The "Normandy Invasion": New York exports its homeless to Normandy
To save taxpayers' money, the mayor "offers" one-way trips to the homeless anywhere in the world.
Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City (once a Democrat, then elected as a Republican, he turned in his Republican party card two years ago), has found the miracle solution to resolve the problem of poverty in his town: offer the homeless a no-return ticket to a destination wherever they want in the world... including to France. And in fact to Granville, a little port in Normandy. Whose mayor can't get over it.
In two years, 550 families have benefited from this "favorable treatment," according to the New York Times. Destinations: five continents and 24 different countries. The only condition for eligibility is that the candidate must have someone close who accepts taking him or her in.
And that is how a family of five Americans (two parents and their three children) is going to find itself in Granville, where a relative of the mother lives. Cost of the trip: $6332 including five airplane tickets and the train as far as Granville.
A good deal for New York City finances. The town is in fact legally obligated to take responsibility for lodging its homeless, through the funding of the program of help and refuge for the homeless, at a cost of $36,000 per family per year.
The goal is therefore to save money "in the interest of the taxpayer," according to the words of the mayor, but for a good cause: elsewhere, the grass is much greener, and it would be really stupid not to seize the chance to start over, Michael Bloomberg explains, in substance.
As for his counterpart in Granville, he finds this "absolutely a scandal."
"What cynicism! When I heard about this, I immediately made the comparison with the charters that France arranges to send immigrant workers from Mali or Senegal back to their homes.... It's the mercantilization of misery!"
The people of Granville themselves are "outraged," says the mayor. "The locals feel very concerned. They say to each other, 'It's the first time, but it could happen again.' You know, Granville is a little town open to the sea and to the world, we will welcome this family, and we are ready to help them. It must be very painful for them."
The five new emigrants certainly could have chosen a worse place. But how will other homeless people integrate? Will the countries chosen have a say in the matter? The assistant director of Eric Besson's office assure us that he knows nothing about it. "For us, this does not exist. We have no knowledge of this business. We have not been contacted by the consulate nor by the border police. I am asking questions. We are going to carry out a thorough inquiry."
On the side of the border police, "no one has heard" of this. As for the prefecture of La Manche (Normandy), it has received no request for residency papers.