The day before Pope Francis’ arrival, Mayor de Blasio claimed a recently announced collaboration with religious organizations would honor the pope’s visit by taking action to combat homelessness, according to a New York Times report. A partnership between the Catholic church and the city will provide 150 beds this winter to people who had formerly been living on the street.
“Pope Francis is calling us all to action,” de Blasio said at a news conference outside St. Anthony’s Church in the Bronx, according to the Times, which also claimed that New York had nearly 60,000 people living in homeless shelters last winter.
“Pope Francis’ visit is a time to reflect on our common humanity and obligations to one another,” de Blasio was quoted in a related CBS report. “Too often, our city’s homeless are stigmatized, ostracized, dehumanized, and we must remember that they are our fellow human beings in crisis.”
Religious groups are expected to use space in their buildings for beds, and they would also provide social services and dinner, the Times reported.
At the St. Anthony’s news conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the mayor contacted him about six weeks ago wanting churches, civic organizations and business leaders to help him with this new push to fight homelessness.
“I am pleased to join with Mayor de Blasio in this important collaboration to assist some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers who currently call the streets of our city their home,” Dolan was quoted by CBS. “This continues the church’s long-standing commitment … to provide help and create hope in the lives of New Yorkers in need.”