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City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people.
With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week — or not at all.
Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.
He said hundreds of people now won’t have a place to sleep.
The Department of Homeless Services said the city offers other shelters with the capacity to accept all those who have been sleeping in the churches. The city had 8,000 beds waiting.
Sure, the city can take them in, but maybe some of the homeless prefer the church-provided beds to the city shelters, even if they’re only available a few nights a week.
I’ve been in many city government buildings, and I’ve yet to find one I’d feel comfortable taking a 5-minute nap in, much less sleeping through the night.
And although I can’t say I’ve spent the night in a city-run homeless shelter, I find it hard to believe that any of them are an improvement over the other esteemed edificies maintained by the City of New York.
If the churches are willing to provide the beds and some homeless are opting for them over the city’s shelters, why impose an arbitrary rule to deny one more option to people who already have so few?