Immediately after the March 2015 Juniper Berry was published, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi’s chief-of-staff sent a link to JPCA in response to the “Close the Door!” opinion piece. The column called for our local state elected officials to start working on changing the state constitution to close the right-to-shelter loophole that allows people from out of state to come to NY to claim shelter and other benefits. The link Hevesi’s staffer provided was to a 2010 article written by a homeless advocacy organization and contained outdated stats. It claimed that “only” 5% of shelter residents likely come from outside the city and that not all homeless applicants are accepted into shelter. However, this contradicts Hevesi’s own statements at the December 2014 JPCA meeting where he claimed that NY, thanks to its constitution, cannot turn anyone away. As for the 5% statistic (which has been increasing year by year), even if it was that few, roughly 60,000 people are in the shelter system. This would make 3,000 people per year that taxpayers would not be forced to house if a residency requirement were put in place. That, in turn, would make the Cooper Avenue homeless shelter unnecessary. Of course, Andy was the only elected official to call the shelter a “done deal” before the fight even really got started, so his twisting in the wind at this point comes as no surprise. He also blocks commenters on his Facebook page when they have the audacity to question him about the homeless issue in response to posts he makes about what a great job he thinks he is doing to fix the problem.