NEW YORK -- New York City is buying one-way plane tickets for homeless families to leave the city and head to Georgia or anywhere else they want to go.
It's part of a Bloomberg administration program to keep the homeless out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. More than 550 families have left the city since 2007. All it takes is for a relative to agree to take them in.
The city employs a travel agency for domestic travel and the Department of Homeless Services handles international travel.
City officials say there are no limits on where a family can be sent and families can reject the offer.
Families have been sent to 24 states and five continents, mostly to Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas and Puerto Rico.
At least one family picked Paris, France and New York paid $6,332 for their tickets. Another flew to Johannesburg, South Africa, with the city picking up the tab for the $2,550 tickets.
City officials say none of the relocated families have returned to city shelters.