COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A special program to help the homeless in New York City is creating controversy across the country, including metro Atlanta, because they are shipping the city’s homeless to other cities.
Since the program started in 2017, a total of 49 people have been sent to Georgia.
Channel 2's Justin Wilfon was at the Marietta City Council meeting Tuesday evening where the program became part of the council's discussion.
Wilfon said several City Council members were agitated about the program, while other didn’t even know it existed.
Several people said Marietta has its own homeless problem to solve, without solving New York City’s problems, too.
“I don’t know why we don’t just ship ours back up to New York?” Marietta Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly said.
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Wilfon learned that New York’s program has sent 13 people to the city of Atlanta, plus an additional five to Cobb County.
Kelly said New York never notified Marietta about the program, and said she learned of it only after the New York Post published an article about it.
“It gravely concerns me because, one, we were not notified,” Kelly said.
The program offers some of New York’s homeless a fresh start by offering to pay their rent for a full year in a city of their choice.
Wilfon contacted New York City Hall on Tuesday for comment about the program.
A spokesperson sent him a statement, saying:
“Cities must collaborate and find innovative solutions to our nationwide homelessness crisis. With more than 5,000 families helped so far, SOTA gives families the opportunity to seek permanent stability wherever they can find it, both within and beyond the five boroughs, and empowers them to make decisions that work in their families’ best interest. Denial of this opportunity amounts to nothing less than income-based discrimination. We look forward to working with other localities on proactive solutions to address these issues on the regional and national level.”
“Well, I think that’s nice of them to say, especially since we didn’t have a seat at the table to collaborate and come up with some solutions,” Kelly said.
The Marietta City Council did not reach any solutions about the problem Tuesday night. They told Wilfon they plan to keep working on it at future meetings.
Cox Media Group