When the New York City needed to cast a Public Service Announcement featuring homeless characters, it didn't hire any of the city's 41,000 actual homeless staying at city shelters, but opted instead to post a listing on Casting.com looking for actors who were "real people types."
The New York Daily News got a hold of the listing before the Department of Homeless Services could take it down:
The agency had specific types in mind: a “Latin dad” and “Latin mom” in their mid to late 20s who were “NOT too modelly (sic).”
It was also looking for a girl about 4 or 5 years old, two “multiethnic” boys ages 7 to 10 and a grandma in her late 40s.
“Talent should be real people type,” preferably “ethnically ambiguous,” the ad read.
The city was looking for 10 nonunion actors willing to work the two-day shoot for $250 each.
City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D- Manhattan) questioned the use of funding a PSA in the first place.
“The goal is to prevent homelessness,” she told The Daily News. “The best way is to give the money to community organizations for outreach. That’s where the money should go, as opposed to a public service announcement."
(The DOHS may also consider next time that some of the world's greatest actors and actresses were reportedly once homeless in New York).
The news comes during a rough year for New York City's homeless. State budget cuts have axed the Advantage program, which helps families transfer to more permanent housing.
And earlier this year, the city was on the brink of requiring shelters to interview those that showed up at their door to determine whether they were actually homeless and if there was anywhere else they could stay. The measure was postponed by The City Council.