HOMELESS IN NYC

May 07, 2019 at 5:15 am

Over 2,500 families are homeless in New York City right now, a 17% increase over the last five years. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is here with solutions while offering assistance.

Below are links for information about NYC shelters:

PATH ( Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing) Office
151 East 151 Street
Bronx, NY 10451
Open 24 Hours, 7 days a week
Main phone: 917-521-3900

For more information, please call 311.

To learn more about the homeless shelters in NYC or if you need to find a shelter provider go to:
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/shelter/providers/providers.page
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/shelter/shelter.page

For more information about Women in Need go to:
https://winnyc.org/

Aired on May 6, 2019.

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Transcript Print

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.
MORE NEW YORKERS THAN EVER ARE
HOMELESS, AND THE STATISTICS ARE
SOBERING.
THERE HAS BEEN A 74% INCREASE IN
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIVING IN
SHELTERS IN THE LAST TEN YEARS,
AND JUST LAST WEEK, NEW YORK'S
COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS
REPORTED THAT THAT POPULATION IS
ON TRACK TO GROW BY 5,000 MORE
BY THE YEAR 2022.
TRAGICALLY, MORE THAN 20,000 OF
THOSE IN HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE
CHILDREN, WOMEN IN NEED, OR WEN,
THE LARGEST PROVIDER OF SHELTER
FOR FAMILIES IN NEW YORK CITY,
SERVING CLOSE TO 10,000.
LAST WEEK THE GROUP CALLED ON
CITY COMPTROLLER SCOTT STRINGER
TO AUDIT THE PREVENTION
ASSISTANCE AND TEMPORARY HOUSING
INTAKE CENTER, ALSO KNOWN AS
PASS.
WE EXAMINE WHAT'S CAUSING THIS
HOMELESS EPIDEMIC, AND HOW CAN
WE SOLVE IT.
I'M JOINED BY CHRISTINE QUINN,
FORMER CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER AND
CURRENT PRESIDENT AND CROW OF
WEN.
WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> SO FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO GO
BACK AND GIVE PEOPLE A REFRESHER
ON THE PURPOSE OF THE
ORGANIZATION.
WHAT IS IT THAT WEN DOES?
>> WEN IS THE LARGEST PROVIDER
OF SHELTER OF HOMELESS FLAPS,
WOMEN AND CHILDREN MOSTLY, 92%
OUR HOUSEHOLDS HEADED BY WOMEN.
BUT THE LARGEST PROVIDER OF
SHELTER AND PERMANENT SUPPORT OF
HOUSING TO HOMELESS FAMILIES IN
NEW YORK CITY.
EVERY NIGHT WE HOUSE 10% OF ALL
THE FAMILIES THAT ARE IN THE
SHELTER SYSTEM.
>> NOW WHY IS IT THAT WE'VE SEEN
SUCH AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER
OF HOMELESS FAMILIES IN THE
CITY?
>> WELL, THERE IS A NUMBER OF
REASONS.
THE BIGGEST I BELIEVE, OR ONE OF
THE BIGGEST IS THE AFFORDABILITY
CRISIS IN NEW YORK.
RENTS ARE -- NOT TO QUOTE
SOMEBODY, BUT TOO DAMN HIGH.
AND SO THE DOOR AT A SHELTER IS
NOT AS WIDE AS IT SHOULD BE OR
ONCE WAS.
ALSO, WE'RE FINDING JUST BEYOND
RENT, LANDLORDS DON'T WANT TO
TAKE THE GOVERNMENT VOUCHERS
THAT PEOPLE HAVE, ALTHOUGH IT'S
AGAINST THE LAW, DISCRIMINATORY.
>> ISN'T THAT ILLEGAL?
>> IT IS.
IT IS.
BUT WHEN YOU'RE PREYING ON
PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING
HOMELESSNESS, THEY'RE AT A LOW
IN THEIR LIFE.
MAYBE THEIR LOWEST.
THEY DON'T FEEL EMPOWERED.
THEY'VE BEEN LET DOWN BY THE
SYSTEM.
SO THIS IDEA THEY'RE GOING TO
TURN THE LANDLORD IN IS REALLY A
LOT TO ASK.
SO THERE IS NOT AS MUCH
PROSECUTION THERE AS IT SHOULD
BE.
THE AFFORDABILITY CRISIS, THE
LACK OF RENTS THAT SOMEBODY
COMING OUT OF SHELTER CAN
AFFORD, THE SECOND REASON THAT
YOU'RE SEEING IT GO UP IS
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
AND THAT'S KIND OF A DIFFERENT
PART OF THE EQUATION.
BUT THAT'S STILL A VERY HIGH
DRIVER.
ALSO, THIS RELATES TO THE
AFFORDABILITY, EVICTION.
ALTHOUGH I WANT TO GIVE MAYOR DE
BLASIO A LOT OF CREDIT, THEY'VE
DONE A GOOD JOB PROTECTING
EVICTIONS WITH ONE-SHOT GRANTS
AND WHAT NOT, BUT IT'S STILL ONE
OF THE TOP TWO REASONS PEOPLE
COME INTO SHELTER IS BECAUSE
THEY LOSE THE HOME THAT THEY'RE
IN.
SO THAT'S ANOTHER FACTOR VERY
MUCH.
>> WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS I
WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT WAS THE
PUBLIC'S MISPERCEPTION ABOUT THE
HOMELESS, BECAUSE SO OFTEN WHEN
WE HEAR ABOUT A HOMELESS SHELTER
BEING BUILT IN A MORE
RESIDENTIAL AREA, PEOPLE FLIP
OUT FOR LACK OF A BETTER
DESCRIPTION.
WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE ARE
MISUNDERSTANDING?
>> FIRST WE SAY IT'S A
MISUNDERSTANDING, AND THEN I
WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE FLIP-OUT.
WE RECENTLY DID A POLL THAT
SHOWS VOCAL MINORITY IS SIMPLY
THAT.
SO WE DID A POLL RECENTLY WITH A
POLLSTER FROM HARRIS X, AND WE
WANTED TO LOOK AT THE BIGGEST
PROVIDERS, WHAT DO PEOPLE KNOW?
WHAT DO THEY THINK?
NOW THE FACT IS THAT 70% OF THE
PEOPLE IN SHELTER IN NEW YORK
CITY, 70% OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT
THEIR HEAD ON A PILLOW IN A
HOMELESS TSCHETTER LAST NIGHT
ARE FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN.
25% ARE CHILDREN SIX YEARS OF
AGE OR YOUNGER.
ON AVERAGE, YOU STAY IN SHELTER
ABOUT 15 MONTHS.
SO IF YOU'RE SIX, WE'RE
BASICALLY TALKING ABOUT A
QUARTER OF YOUR LIFE IN SHELTER.
NOW OUR POLL SHOWED THAT MOST
NEW YORKERS BELIEVE THE VAST
MAJORITY OF NEW YORKERS BELIEVE
THAT THE MAJORITY OF HOMELESS
ARE SINGLE MEN.
NOW WHY DO THEY THINK THAT?
THAT'S WHO YOU SEE ON THE
STREET.
IT'S AGAINST THE LAW TO HAVE
YOUR CHILD ON THE STREET.
YOU DON'T SEE THAT.
TWO, PARTS OF THE MEDIA, AND I
WOULD HIGHLIGHT "THE NEW YORK
POST," HAVE FOR DECADES,
WHENEVER THERE IS A STORY ABOUT
HOMELESSNESS SOUND THE SCARIEST,
MOST FRIGHTENING DISHEVELLED
PICTURE OF A MAN, USUALLY A MAN
OF COLOR, AND PUT ON IT THE
COLOR TO SCARE US, TO CREATE US
AND THEM.
AND THEY'VE DONE IT VERY
SUCCESSFULLY.
THAT'S SOMETHING WE REALLY NEED
TO WORK ON IS GETTING THE FACTS
OUT THERE, BECAUSE IF THE FACTS
AREN'T OUT THERE, THE PUBLIC
CANNOT DEMAND THE RIGHT POLICY
RESPONSES.
NOW WE SEE SOMETIMES WHEN
SHELTERS ARE PROPOSED OR BEING
BUILT THAT THERE WILL BE A
RESPONSE FROM THE COMMUNITY, AND
IT'S OFTEN NEGATIVE.
>> YES.
>> AND WE'VE SEEN THE CITY AT
TIMES BACK DOWN FROM SITES
BECAUSE OF THAT.
THIS POLL WE CONDUCTED SHOWED
THAT 90% OF NEW YORKERS THOUGHT
MORE NEEDED EED TO BE DONE TO H
THE HOMELESS, AND SIX OUT OF
TEN, 60% WERE OKAY WITH A
SHELTER.
ER IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD.
SO SIX OUT OF TEN HAD NO
OBJECTION.
>> THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF
REPORTING ABOUT THE CITY'S
EFFORTS TO ROTATE FAMILIES IN
AND OUT OF SOME HOTELS, MOTELS,
ET CETERA, AND HOW THAT IS AND
IS NOT WORKING.
>> THE MOTELS AND THE HOTELS ARE
A DISASTER.
SO WHAT HAPPENS THERE?
OUR SHELTERS HAVE 24 HOURS
SECURITY.
SECURITY CAMERAS EVERYWHERE BUT
IN THE ROOM.
WE SAW A WOMAN JUST A MERE THREE
YEARS AGO GET MURDERED IN STATEN
ISLAND, A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
SURVIVOR, HOMELESS BECAUSE OF
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN A HOTEL IN
STATEN ISLAND.
HE FINDS HER, HE KILLS HER, NO
SECURITY.
SO THERE WAS THAT SECURITY.
WITHOUT COMPREHENSIVE
PROGRAMING, THEY DON'T HAVE THE
TYPE OF SOCIAL WORKERS,
CASEWORKERS, JOB TRAINING,
RECREATION, AFTER-SCHOOL HELP,
CAMP WHICH WE HAVE IN THAT
EXISTING SHELTER IN THE HOLTELS.
YOU WAIT WITH NO ONE REALLY TO
HELP YOU.
THOSE ARE ONLY RESULT IN
EXTENDING HOMELESSNESS.
AND IF PEOPLE MOVE OUT OF THEM,
THEY HAVEN'T WORKED THROUGH
TRAUMA OF HOMELESSNESS IN THEIR
EXPERIENCES.
SO THEY'LL UNDOUBTEDLY COME BACK
AROUND AGAIN.
>> END UP BACK.
SO WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE
BEST WAY FOR NEW YORKERS WHO ARE
HEARING THIS AND PERHAPS WEREN'T
AWARE OF WEN, WANT TO DO
SOMETHING POSITIVE FOR THE
HOMELESS.
WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?
THERE.
>> ARE A COUPLE OF THINGS.
THEY SHOULD REACH OUT TO WEN.
AND OUR WEBSITE IS WINNYC DOG.
AND ONE, REACH OUT TO W.I.N.
OR IF YOU SEE A SHELTER PROVIDER
IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, THERE IS A
LOT OF FABULOUS GROUPS OUT
THERE.
REACH OUT THE W.I.N.
REACH OUT TO ANOTHER GROUP.
USE YOUR VOICE.
IF YOU'RE SEEING STORIES ABOUT
PEOPLE PROTESTING SHELTERS, OR
YOU'RE SEEING MEDIA COVERAGE
THAT IS CLASSIST OR RACIST OR
SEXIST, TWEET ABOUT IT.
GO UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT IT.
PUT A POST ON FACEBOOK.
YOU KNOW, TWEET AT THE
PUBLICATION THAT RAN IT.
TWEET AT THE NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP.
WE NEED PEOPLE TO RAISE THEIR
VOICES, BECAUSE TOO OFTEN IN THE
HOMELESS DEBATE, THE ONLY VOICES
WE HEAR ARE THE ONES SCREAMING.
WE NEED TO HEAR THOSE VOICES OF
COMPASSION AND COMMUNITY, AND
THAT REALLY WILL MAKE A
DIFFERENCE.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU.
AND I'LL GIVE VIEWERS ONE OTHER
IDEA.
>> SURE, YES.
>> IT'S COMING UP ON THE SUMMER.
AND CHILDREN AT W.I.N. GO TO
CAMP ALL SUMMER.
WE DO A ESTEEM BASED CAMP.
BUT OTHER SHELTERS DO PROGRAMING
TOO.
SO SEND IN $10.
SEND IN $20.
AND THEN WHEN YOU'RE TAKING YOUR
CHILD TO CAMP ON THE FIRST DAY,
REMEMBER YOU ALSO HELPED A
HOMELESS CHILD GO TO CAMP.
>> I THINK THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL
THOUGHT FOR THE SUMMER COMING
UP.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.
>> IF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE IN
DANGER OF BECOMING HOMELESS IN
THE TRI-STATE AREA, PLEASE VISIT
OUR WEBSITE AT ME"METRMETROFOCUO
LEARN MORE ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS
LIKE W.I.N.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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