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N.Y. considers floating homeless shelters

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City officials flew to the Bahamas Wednesday morning in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's private jet to assess the possibility of using retired pleasure cruise ships docked there as homeless shelters.

The "fact-finding mission" was a preliminary step by the Department of Homeless Services in determining the feasibility of the idea, and the department was not likely to decide anytime soon whether the city's homeless will be docked in the river, said spokesman Jim Anderson.

The idea came from the Bloomberg administration, said Anderson, as a creative way to tackle New York City's all-time high homeless numbers. About 67,000 people, including 16,000 children, stay in shelters each night in the city, according to Anderson.

Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Linda Gibbs and Bloomberg's chief of staff, Peter Madonia, led other city officials on the mission to look at a small number of cruise ships owned by various companies.

The group was scheduled to return to New York Wednesday evening.

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