We Can Help
By Erica and Karen
New York, among other cities, is experiencing a shocking increase in the population of homeless people. It is a quality of life issue for the homeless, but also for everyone else.
Union Square, in the early morning, is a bedroom. Well, not exactly. No beds, just a place where people sleep--mostly black, mostly male, many heartbreakingly young or old. Sometimes on cardboard, sometimes on abandoned chairs, sometimes with rudimentary covers, sometimes not. And Union Square is far from the only place. City Hall Park is another. How can this be, in our beautiful, shining, wealthy city on the hill, in 2017? Especially with a Mayor who insists he wants to help?
We don't know. The Mayor, who seems impotent, has just proposed 90 new shelters. It is not being met with excitement. It's not, in any event, a sustaining or sustainable solution. And no one seems to want to mount a real campaign against the Mayor. So here we are.
What would happen if he called together a group of retired financial and real estate and health professionals, architects and engineers, lawyers and doctors, and asked them to think about solutions? For a defined period of time, say, 90 days. What if those retirees talked to younger people, like Adam Neumann, who thought up WeWork, a brilliant, and simple, idea if ever there was one. He would surely know how to transform abandoned spaces to the requisite standard for this purpose. People creating luxury retirement buildings for rich retirees might have some good ideas too. And the brilliant minds that put together Northwell Health, the largest hospital network on the east coast, should be invited to the party.
OK, maybe not all of these minds have time to help. But we bet many retirees with relevant experience would love to spend a few months thinking about, and proposing solutions to, this problem. We just need someone in a position of power to recognize this resource, and sign us up.
Could we solve the problem? It is complicated, we know that, but maybe. It's worth a try.