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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Monday, August 19, 2013

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wants To Fingerprint Everyone In Public Housing

Fingerprints For Public Housing

The Governor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has come under heavy fire recently for comments he made on WOR Radio that have labeled him a racist by many. Bloomberg stated that public housing tenants should be fingerprinted as a way of keeping criminals out of their buildings.

The comment was viewed as inappropriate and disrespectful by minorities who represent a large percentage of the individuals and families who live in public housing. Interestingly, public housing residents represent only about 5 percent of the total population of New York. So it is easy to understand why minorities reacted to Bloomberg's proposal as unfairly targeting minorities.

Not The First Time

This isn't the first time Bloomberg proposed fingerprinting as a way of deterring crime. In 2012, he recommended fingerprinting individuals who received Food Stamps before they could receive their benefits. Again, the majority of individuals and families receiving food stamps are minorities. Fortunately, this plan was not implemented.

Why Target Minorities and the Poor?

Many New Yorkers are wondering what on earth Bloomberg is thinking by targeting minorities and the poor. The implication is that they are guilty before being proven innocent. This also seems to be the theme of Bloomberg's recent "stop-and-frisk" policy which would gave law enforcement officials the authority to stop people they perceive to be suspicious. Fortunately, again, the federal courts ruled the idea unconstitutional, a form of racial profiling and a violation of human rights, a decision which Bloomberg is challenging.

Is Bloomberg just becoming overzealous due to New York's declining crime rate, or has he lost touch with reality? One thing is for certain; the controversy is likely to follow Bloomberg all the way to the voting polls as he nears the end of his governorship.
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