Homeless people are sleeping and bathing themselves inside LaGuardia Airport in New York while the busy holiday season is in full swing (video below).
“I’ve been staying here for a while,” an elderly homeless man told WCBS. “Most everybody here is homeless.”
“You’re much safer here than in a shelter,” he added. “Because with all this stuff here, I can get knifed, I can have bedbugs on me, lice. I’m 68 years old. I don’t need the hassle. I sit and watch CNN all day.”
“People are working now, they’re living from paycheck to paycheck, you know? They’re one paycheck away from sitting where I’m sitting. Isn’t that sad?”
The homeless are sleeping on the floor, in wheelchairs, over a heating duct and in sleeping bags, reports WCBS. They were also caught on video washing themselves inside airport bathrooms.
“You kind of forget on a day-to-day basis that people are living like this every day,” Lydia, a passenger, told the news station.
“This isn’t good for tourism either, for the people to see when they get here that there’s in the United States, people living in the airport,” passenger Sergio Brok added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his new Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Team, called HOME-STAT, on Dec. 17, which is designed to reach out to the homeless, reports WCBS. If the homeless people are doing something illegal, such as panhandling or taking drugs, team members will have them arrested.
Citizens can dial 311 when they see a homeless person in need or doing something inappropriate. A city employee, who is part of a response team, will come to the scene to assess the situation. There will also be 100 new police officers to arrest people and help the teams.
“We believe Mayor de Blasio’s analysis and restructuring plan will, at long last, bring thousands of homeless New Yorkers in off the streets and into permanent housing,” Mary Brosnahan, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement.