Homelessness in New York City

Mayor de Blasio scrambles to curb homelessness after years of not keeping pace, By J. David Goodman and Nikita Stewart, January 13, 2017, New York Times: “During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first year in office, the Department of Homeless Services created 16 new shelters across New York City to house more than a thousand families and hundreds of single adults.  Then, for eight months, the city stopped opening shelters. With the number of people falling into homelessness still rising and with shelter beds running short, the city instead turned to what was supposed to be a stopgap: hotels…”

Homelessness and Housing – New York City

Confronting surge in homelessness, New York City expands use of hotels, By William Neuman, December 7, 2016, New York Times: “Facing a continued surge in the homeless population, New York City officials are aggressively expanding the costly and highly criticized practice of using hotels to plug gaps in the city’s strained shelter system. The increase has been stark: About 12 percent of the total homeless population is now being housed in hotel rooms, compared with just 4 percent in January…”

Discounted Transit Fares

Advocates for New York’s working poor push for discounted transit fares, By Emma G. Fitzsimmons, November 11, 2016, New York Times: “At a time when New York City can seem unbearably expensive, advocates for the poor are targeting a rising cost that many people struggle to afford: a MetroCard.  And with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority poised to approve its latest fare increase in January, they are pressing Mayor Bill de Blasio to finance a program that would offer half-price subway and bus fares to New Yorkers living in poverty…”

Student Homelessness – New York, Minnesota

  • Where nearly half of pupils are homeless, school aims to be teacher, therapist, even Santa, By Elizabeth A. Harris, June 6, 2016, New York Times: “There are supposed to be 27 children in Harold Boyd IV’s second-grade classroom, but how many of them will be there on a given day is anyone’s guess.  Since school began in September, five new students have arrived and eight children have left. Two transferred out in November. One who started in January was gone in April. A boy showed up for a single day in March, and then never came back. Even now, in the twilight of the school year, new students are still arriving, one as recently as mid-May…”
  • Amid recovery, many families struggle with homelessness, By Kristi Marohn, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “In 2004, then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty set an ambitious goal for the state: End homelessness by 2010.  But 12 years later, despite the bold pronouncement, the problem of homelessness continues to plague the state, including the St. Cloud area.  Despite the economic recovery and lower unemployment, Central Minnesota families are still struggling with incomes that have stayed flat since the Great Recession. Meanwhile, a tight rental market has pushed the cost of housing beyond the reach of many…”
  • Child homelessness can have long-term consequences, By Stephanie Dickrell, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “There are strong moral reasons to end homelessness and its consequences. But there are economic incentives for society as well. Children who grow up in homelessness may experience long-term effects on behavior, employability, relationships and brain development. As those children grow into adulthood, society ends up paying for the consequences through law enforcement, the criminal justice system and social service programs…”
  • Facing summer on an empty stomach, By Vicki Ikeogu, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “June 2, 2016. The day area school-aged kids could not wait for.  Yearbook signings. No more homework. Freedom.  The last day of school can bring a whirlwind of emotions for students. But for thousands in the St. Cloud school district, summer vacation can mean anxiety. Worry. Hunger.  Because without the breakfast and lunch provided during the school day, many kids are facing a summer filled with limited access to nutritious and filling meals…”

Homeless Youth – New York City

Homeless young people of New York, overlooked and underserved, By Nikita Stewart, February 5, 2016, New York Times: “Hundreds of homeless young people are in plain sight every day in New York City.  They are sitting on the floor at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and charging their phones as if they were college students awaiting a bus home. They are huddled on the sidewalk, hanging out. They sleep on friends’ couches and in strangers’ beds. They stay with ‘Uncle A.C.E.,’ code for the long route of the A train, where they can spend hours unbothered and unnoticed. Mostly, they just blend in, people in their late teens or early 20s, navigating a treacherous path into adulthood…”

High School Graduation Rate – New York City

New York City’s high school graduation rate tops 70%, By Elizabeth A. Harris, January 11, 2016, New York Times: “As New York State officials met on Monday to consider changes to high school graduation requirements, the state announced that the graduation rate inched up last year, with New York City’s edging above 70 percent for the first time. Despite that increase, white students remained far more likely to receive a diploma than black or Hispanic students. And high school graduation remained out of reach for many students with disabilities…”

Foster Care – Florida, Ohio, New York City

  • Rate of kids coming into Florida’s foster care rising, By Margie Menzel, November 28, 2015, Orlando Sentinel: “More children are coming into Florida’s foster-care system after a sweeping child-welfare reform law went into effect 19 months ago, but officials say the state is trying to focus on what’s best for kids in difficult situations…”
  • Ohio House approves bill to extend foster-care eligibility to 21-year-olds, By Jim Siegel and Rita Price, December 1, 2015, Columbus Dispatch: “The Ohio House gave overwhelming support Tuesday to a bill designed to improve Ohio’s guardianship system and expand the age at which young Ohioans are eligible for foster care services.  But before House Bill 50 passed in an unusual process that included three committee votes, majority Republicans removed a bill of rights aimed at providing specific protections to 67,000 wards who are under court-appointed guardianship…”
  • New York City to stop sending older teens to foster-care intake center, By Mara Gay, December 1, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “New York City’s child-welfare agency plans to stop placing older youths in a single intake center on Manhattan’s East Side as they wait to be placed with foster families, and instead find temporary homes for them, city officials said…”

Community Health Profiles – New York City

  • A troubling portrait of Brooklyn’s overall health is released, By Jonathan LaMantia, October 15, 2015, Crain’s New York Business: “The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Wednesday released the first of its Community Health Profiles, breaking down demographics, poverty and prevention statistics in 18 community districts in Brooklyn. Some of the health care statistics reported included the rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes; the number of uninsured adults and adults who went without needed medical care; rates of vaccinations for diseases such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and the flu; and rates of premature death and infant mortality…”
  • In NYC, new health data zoom in on disparities among areas, By Jennifer Peltz (AP), October 14, 2015, Miami Herald: “In Brooklyn’s impoverished Brownsville neighborhood, the average person can expect to live to 74. Six miles away in lower Manhattan’s financial district, life expectancy is more than 11 years longer. The nation’s biggest city is taking close-up snapshots of the state of health in its neighborhoods, highlighting disparities that officials say show being healthy isn’t just about individual biology…”

Evictions and Homelessness – New York City

NYC to target evictions in bid to curb homelessness, By Josh Dawsey, September 28, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “As Mayor Bill de Blasio struggles to control rising homelessness in New York, the city plans to hire more lawyers to help financially stressed residents avoid eviction—especially in neighborhoods that are quickly gentrifying. By mid-2017, the city will be spending $60 million annually—up from about $34 million now—on an expanded legal team to address the flow of homeless into an already overburdened shelter system and the number of people living on the streets. The city has found that about 32% of the families in its shelters were evicted from their homes…”

Public Housing – New York City

As New York rents soar, public housing becomes lifelong refugeBy Mireya Navarro, August 3, 2015, New York Times: “Esther Swan grew up in public housing, graduated from college and has thrived professionally, most recently as a talent director for an entertainment company. But while the buildings in New York City’s housing projects deteriorated around her, with siblings and neighbors moving out, Ms. Swan stayed put, holding on to her apartment in the Fulton Houses, in Chelsea. Her low rent allowed her to pay for good child care and a parish school for her son, and now as the cost of private housing has soared across much of the city, not least in a booming neighborhood like Chelsea, Ms. Swan, 55, does not see herself leaving anytime soon…”

SNAP Recipients and Benefit Renewal – New York City

Navigating a bureaucratic maze to renew food stamp benefits, By Winnie Hu, July 23, 2015, New York Times: “Three months after Delbert Shorter’s food stamps were cut off, he still does not know why. At first, he thought that his $180 a month allotment from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called SNAP or food stamps, was just late. But as one week turned into another, Mr. Shorter, 78, who lives in a fifth-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, grew more anxious, and hungrier. He stockpiled canned foods from a church food pantry, borrowed $60 from his home health aide and turned to a senior center to help get his food stamps back. ‘It’s very hard,’ he said. ‘If I knew it was really going to come, I would not have to worry about the next meal.’  Even as New York City has embarked on a campaign to increase access to food stamps in recent months, Mr. Shorter’s plight illustrates the barriers that remain for those who are already enrolled…”

Low-Wage Workers and Affordable Housing – New York City

For New York City’s working poor, new help in getting out of homeless shelters, By Corinne Ramey, May 18, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “Last summer, a pipe burst in the Bronx apartment where Ayra Garcia lived with her 15-year-old niece. The water damage was so bad that they couldn’t live there anymore. But despite the $31,243 a year that Ms. Garcia then made as a teacher, she didn’t have the savings to pay the three months of rent and a security deposit on a new apartment. With no other options, she and her niece spent five months in homeless shelters…”

Risk Load of High-Poverty Schools

Study gauges ‘risk load’ for high-poverty schools, By Sarah D. Sparks, November 6, 2014, Education Week: “Poverty is not just a lack of money. It’s a shorthand for a host of other problems—scanty dinners and crumbling housing projects, chronic illnesses, and depressed or angry parents—that can interfere with a child’s ability to learn. Educators and researchers in several of the nation’s largest districts are trying to look at schools based on a fuller picture of children’s experiences, rather than only seeing poverty as a label. In a study released today, researchers at the Center for New York City Affairs linked data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the school district, and the municipal housing, homeless services, and children’s services agencies, and matched the data with 748 elementary schools (which, unlike the districtwide enrollment system for secondary school, use geographic attendance areas.)…”

Workfare – New York City

De Blasio’s plan to eliminate workfare lifts hopes for job seekers, By Rachel L. Swarns, November 2, 2014, New York Times: “Every workday morning, Phedra Schliefer-Tobias mops floors, cleans toilets and scrubs sinks just like the rest of the members of the custodial staff in a nine-story office building in Lower Manhattan. But her city-issued identification card — her badge of shame — makes it clear that she stands apart.In bold, black letters, the ID card describes her as a “Non Employee,” proof that she is not on a career track. She is a 48-year-old welfare recipient, working for her benefits and “going nowhere,” as she puts it…”

Public Housing – New York City

Budget cuts reshape New York’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, September 11, 2014, New York Times: “The crushing news came less than a year after Diane Robinson and her 24-year-old son moved into an airy two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The city, which helps pay her rent, wrote this summer to say she would have to downsize into a one-bedroom apartment or pay $240 more a month in rent. A public school aide, Ms. Robinson, 48, decided to stay in the apartment, in the Castle Hill neighborhood. But on an annual income of about $25,000, she is struggling, she said, and she does not know how long she can hang on. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment would mean that her son, a college student who works to help with food and utilities, would have to sleep in the living room. ‘My son works — he’s not entitled to have his own bedroom?’ she said. ‘Next thing they’re going to tell me is that I’m not entitled to a roof over my head…'”

Public Housing – New York City

Public housing in New York reaches a fiscal crisis, By Mireya Navarro, August 11, 2014, New York Times: “Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of New York City public housing. Advocates for homeless people are demanding more apartments for families living in shelters. School officials want space in public housing for new prekindergarten classes. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to use open land in the projects for new affordable housing. And just over a quarter of a million households sit on the waiting list for an apartment in one of the New York City Housing Authority’s 334 developments. But the demands on Nycha, as the housing authority is known, clash with a grave financial reality. After years of shrinking government investment in public housing, the agency has a $77 million budget deficit this year and unfunded capital needs totaling $18 billion, its officials say…”

Affordable Housing and Tenant Rights – New York

As New York landlords push buyouts, renters resist, By Mireya Navarro, July 9, 2014, New York Times: “The first offer from the landlord’s representative came in April: Take $90,000 to move out, the tenants said they were told, or the landlord would sue and they would lose their apartments anyway. Lin Thai Ng, who lives in a cramped $500-a-month studio in downtown Manhattan with her husband, said no. The landlord persisted and offered $100,000. After they refused again, the couple got a notice saying they were not the lawful tenants and declaring them squatters. They were told they had 18 days to get out or they would be evicted. . .”

Homelessness – New York City

New York City street homelessness rises 6%, By Michael Howard Saul, June 6, 2014, Wall Street Journal: “The number of homeless people living in New York City public spaces increased 6% in 2014 compared with 2013, according to records released Friday by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. An estimated 3,357 people were living on the streets, in city parks and other areas during an annual survey conducted in January, marking an increase of 177 people from January 2013. This year’s estimate showed 1,808 people living in subways, a 2% decrease from the year before. Unsheltered homelessness rose the most in Queens, surging 158%, and on Staten Island, rising 43%, records show. In Manhattan, the borough with the most street homelessness . . .”

Early Childhood Education

Lessons for de Blasio in New Jersey’s fee pre-K, By Javier C. Hernández, January 26, 2014, New York Times: “Teddy Lin’s teachers were worried. For the first few weeks of preschool, Teddy, a 3-year-old Chinese immigrant, cried nearly every day. While his classmates recited stories in English about dogs and elephants, he talked in Mandarin. Some days, he sat quietly and refused to play. His teachers responded with a radical plan. They began learning Mandarin, tutored his parents in reading, and paired Teddy with older classmates to teach him about topics like woodland animals. Within a few months, Teddy was performing on a par with his peers. Officials across the country, including Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, are looking to efforts like those in New Jersey as they seek to broaden access to free, full-day prekindergarten…”

Anti-Poverty Programs and Childless Adults

Seeking ways to help the poor and childless, By Eduardo Porter, January 14, 2014, New York Times: “Last Friday at the Food Bank for New York on 116th Street, I caught a glimpse of the many shapes of need. With a few hundred dollars, 25-year-old Ayesha Depay could afford the lessons she needs to pass her road test and get a driver’s license, an indispensable tool for the job she craves leading recreation programs for children. Nadine Robinson, 43, a former receptionist at Sony Music Studios who has been working for $9 an hour as a home health aide, could use the money to get a step ahead of the relentless stream of bills, pay down debts and rebuild her credit. A 53-year-old security guard I talked to declined to provide his name, embarrassed perhaps that he was sleeping on friends’ couches, working barely enough hours to ‘keep my head above water.’ He had so many potential uses for extra cash he couldn’t pin any one down. For all their differences, these men and women shared one crucial thing. Despite incomes low enough that if they had been parents they would probably have qualified for substantial government cash assistance, they received little if any support…”