HOMELESS IN NYC

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

> 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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