November 23, 2016: A Miracle Phone Call for the Homeless. Koko the Talking Gorilla. The Best Holiday Films.

November 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, nearly 60,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters every night, according to the most recent statistics from City Hall. That number is up 18 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office two years ago, but city officials say congestion in shelters would be much worse if not for large investments in homeless programs. For many people on the streets, part of the problem is that they don’t know where their families are or how to contact them. That’s where Miracle Messages steps in. The organization uses videos and social media to track down and reunite the homeless with their families. The group’s founder, Kevin Adler, joins us tonight to talk more about the city’s homeless problem and the miracles his organization is facilitating every day.

Next, Koko the Gorilla isn’t your average ape. This 45-year-old primate was taught sign language as a youngster by an animal psychologist who has gone on to become her surrogate mother. For decades, Koko has received worldwide recognition for her ability to communicate with humans. But some in the scientific community are skeptical about her true ability to understand and respond to what people are saying. The documentary, Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks, from PBS and the BBC explores this remarkable animal’s life and the controversy surrounding her. Tonight we take a look at the film and sit down with the documentary’s producer to go inside Koko’s story.

Finally, while you snuggle up with your loved ones in front of the TV, what are some of the top films sure to get you in the holiday spirit? Our friends from Fandango share their list of the best season-starters.