Upcoming Event- The Annual 'Karen Stedman Walk for Warmth': Sunday October 6, 2019

Hello Everyone!

It brings me great pleasure to invite you to our 6th Annual Walk for Warmth on October 6th, 2019. This year we have officially renamed our walk after the late Karen Stedman.


This year we have added an exciting twist to our walk, a spectator ferry ride! We have also included the scenic Highline, where we will be walking through gardens, experiencing an impromptu street performance or two and seeing our city from a unique perspective.  

Last year our Walk for warmth raised over $20,000 for sleeping bags and socks for the homeless.

Despite the rising cost of sleeping bags, we were able to collect and distribute over 600 sleeping bags to families in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We couldn't have done it without you!!

I've attached the proposed walk for your review. Please save the date as we look forward to you joining us that day. Join us for a part of, or the entire Karen Stedman Walk for Warmth 2019.

Yours Faithfully,
Tariq


Tariq George 

Vice President 

The Sleeping Bag Project NYC

Wesley House 501 6th St Brooklyn                                                              Leaving 7:00AM

Head northwest on 6th St toward 7th Ave                                                                 0.4 mi

Turn left onto 5th Ave                                                                                                            3.4 mi

Turn right onto 72nd St                                                                                              0.3 mi

Turn left onto 3rd Ave                                                                                                0.1 mi

Starbucks 7419 3rd Ave Brooklyn                                                               1 h 22 min (4.1 mi)

 

Starbucks 7419 3rd Ave Brooklyn                                                               Leaving 8:50 AM

Head north on 3rd Ave toward 74th St                                                                      0.3 mi

Turn left onto Bay Ridge Ave                                                                                    0.7 mi

American Veterans Memorial Pier Bay Ridge Ave, Brooklyn                  20 min (1.0 mi)

 

                                                                                               

American Veterans Memorial Pier Bay                             Departing 9:32AM

Pier 11 / Wall St South St, New York                                   Arriving 10:12 AM                                                    

Pier 11 / Wall St. South St, New York                                                          Leaving 10:15 AM

 

Head northwest toward E River Bikeway Street View                                                                  131 ft

Turn left onto E River Bikeway Street View                                                                                 0.4 mi

Turn right toward South St Street View                                                                                         135 ft

Turn left onto South St Street View                                                                                               400 ft

Slight right to stay on South St Street View                                                                                   0.3 mi

Turn left Street View                                                                                                                      144 ft

Turn left toward Battery Bikeway Street View                                                                              0.1 mi

Turn left onto Battery Bikeway Street View                                                                                  167 ft

Turn left toward Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                           95 ft

Turn left toward Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                           82 ft

Continue onto Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                               1.0 mi

Turn right Street View                                                                                                                    292 ft

Slight left Street View                                                                                                                    0.2 mi

Turn right onto N Esplanade Street View                                                                                      0.1 mi

Turn left Street View                                                                                                                      1.2 mi

Continue straight Street View                                                                                                        0.2 mi

Slight left Street View                                                                                                                    0.1 mi

Slight right at Bloomfield St/Gansevoort St Street View                                                               0.2 mi

Turn right toward 10th Ave Street View                                                                                        233 ft

Turn left onto 10th Ave Street View                                                                                              36 ft

Turn right onto W 14th St Street View                                                                                          0.2 mi

Turn left onto 9th Ave Street View                                                                                                249 ft

Starbucks 61 9th Ave, New York                                                                 1 h 23 min (4.2 miles)

                                               

Starbucks 61 9th Ave New York                                                                  Leaving 12:30PM

Head northwest on W 15th St toward 10th Ave                                                         0.1 mi

Turn right onto 10th Ave                                                                                            272 ft

Turn right onto W 16th St                                                                                          125 ft

Turn left, Take the stairs                                                                                             105 ft

Turn right onto High Line                                                                                          482 ft             

Continue straight to stay on High Line                                                                       1.0 mi

High Line Start Point 5861 High Line, New York                                      27 min (1.4 mi)

Head northeast on High Line toward W 34th St                                                        72 ft

Turn right onto W 34th St                                                                                          0.6 mi

Turn left onto 8th Ave/Eighth Ave                                                                             0.8 mi

Turn right onto W 51st St                                                                                           0.1 mi

Ellen’s Stardust Diner 1650 Broadway, New York                                   33 min (1.6 mi)

                                                                                                                        1 h 0 min (3.0 mi)

 

Ellen’s Stardust Diner 1650 Broadway, New York                                   Leaving 2:45 PM

Head northwest on W 51st St toward Broadway                                                       138 ft

Turn left onto Broadway                                                                                            1.8 mi

Continue onto Union Square W                                                                                 0.1 mi

Turn left at E 15th St                                                                                                  39 ft

Turn right toward Broadway                                                                                      394 ft

Turn right onto Broadway                                                                                          1.2 mi

Turn left after Bank of America Financial Center (on the left)                                 0.1 mi

Starbucks 241 Canal St, New York                                                              1 h 08 min (3.4 mi)

 

Starbucks 241 Canal St, New York                                                              Leaving 4:00 PM

Head southeast on Canal St toward Centre St                                                            0.2 mi

Slight right to stay on Canal St                                                                                   446 ft

Turn left toward Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                                  30 ft

Turn left onto Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                                      1.2 mi

Take the stairs                                                                                                             79 ft

Sharp right to stay on Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                          131 ft

Turn left toward Jay St                                                                                               30 ft

Turn left onto Jay St                                                                                                   499 ft

Turn left onto Nassau St                                                                                             226 ft

Nassau St turns slightly right and becomes Bridge Plaza Ct                                     85 ft

Turn left toward Flatbush Ave Ext                                                                             66 ft

Turn right onto Flatbush Ave Ext & then Flatbush Ave                                            1.4 mi

Turn right onto 6th Ave                                                                                              0.8 mi

Turn left onto 6th St                                                                                                   0.2 mi

Wesley House, 501 6th St Brooklyn                                                              1 h 26 min (4.3 mi)

                                                                                                                        Arriving 5:30 PM

NYC’s largest shelter leads college tours for homeless teens

New York’s notoriously complicated high school admissions process was especially daunting for 14-year-old Asiel — who had spent the previous three years living with his mother in a homeless shelter.

But the incoming ninth grader, who loves math and science, pushed his way through a nerve-racking interview and test, and scored a seat at the selective Bard Early College Queens.

Now, with the help of a new initiative through WIN Shelters, the largest provider of homeless facilities in the city, Asiel will have a head start on the next daunting admissions process: college.

As the population of homeless students in New York City rises, the shelter agency — armed with a $25,000 grant from telecommunications giant AT&T — has taken dozens of teenagers living in WIN facilities on college tours to help boost college enrollment for students without housing.

“It’s pretty great so far,” Asiel said on an August tour of Hunter College. “I like the fact they take you around the whole school,” he said, admiring facilities like the computer lab and student center.

Tour chaperone Diana Santos, assistant vice president of supportive services at WIN Shelters, said the trips are a chance for kids to get out of the close quarters they often share with shelter families, and a way to “plant a seed” about applying to college.

One in 10 city students live in a shelter or doubled up with friends or relatives, according to a sobering report from the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. Losing a home has profound educational effects for students, including forcing families to choose between switching schools or traveling long distances to stay in a familiar school.

And in the midst of that shuffle and adjustment, a complicated and lengthy process like prepping for a college application can be pushed to the back burner, Santos said.

The tours, along with tutoring and social work services WIN provides in shelters, help keep college front and center for the teens.

Jennifer Raab, the president of Hunter College, said she was eager to host a tour after the college enrolled Brianna Watts, a teenager accepted to 12 colleges while living in a WIN shelter.

“We’re so aware of how hard it is for any New York City public school students to think about paying for college, about applying to college,” Raab said. “We’re that much more conscious of how hard it is if you don’t have a stable living situation.”

Another student on the tour, a 10th grader named Milaiska, liked Hunter’s nursing program. She’s aspired to be a nurse since, as a child, she helped care for her sick grandmother.

“I really like it. It had everything I need," she said, adding: “I like how you can stay here,” referring to the availability of dorms.

Most of all, students on the tour said the experience demystified the college application process. For example, Asiel said he was worried about the importance of SAT and ACT test scores for admission. He welcomed learning the actual targets he’d need to aim for, and that they weren’t the single most important aspect of admission.

The Hunter tour had one measurable success: One senior decided to fill out an application on the spot.

NYC to aggressively expand homeless outreach program in subway

New York Daily News |

Aug 22, 2019 | 7:00 AM

The city is ramping up its efforts to get homeless people off the subway and into permanent housing.

The Department of Homeless Services and the NYPD on Thursday announced they are expanding a series of initiatives to convince thousands of homeless people who take refuge on the subway to accept government assistance.

A major part of that expansion builds on a pilot launched earlier this summer, in which DHS staffers and transit cops would offer assistance to homeless subway riders who violate Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rules, like lying down across several train car seats or evading the fare.

The pilot program targeted a handful of key areas in Manhattan — and is expanding citywide, with a focus on terminal stations at the ends of subway lines, where many homeless people who sleep on trains end up.

“These are enhancements to our HomeStat program, which launched in 2016 and has enabled us to bring more that 2,200 people off the streets, including 600 from the subways, all of whom have remained off the streets,” said DHS Commissioner Steven Banks.

The city is also in the process of building a “Joint Crisis Coordination Center,” which will give city government access to real-time video feeds of subway stations to determine where they will deploy personnel.

A survey taken last winter showed that there are roughly 3,500 “unsheltered” people living on New York City streets and in the subways, and a majority of them sleep on the transit network.

Banks said many of those who use the subway for shelter do not trust government institutions, but said his department has convinced more and more people to accept help through relentless engagement.

“This is an initiative to divert individuals from criminal justice involvement who otherwise would end up in the criminal justice system,” said Banks. “The approach of Giuliani administration, for example, was to chase, chase, chase the homeless until they disappeared. Our approach is engage, engage and engage.”

The announcement of the increased outreach efforts comes less than a month after a report published by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that the Bowery Residents Committee, a nonprofit hired by the MTA to handle homeless outreach, regularly turned away homeless people.

Gov. Cuomo also made hay out of the issue last month, demanding the MTA quickly reduce the number of homeless people sleeping on trains.

MTA spokesman Max Young said the city’s initiative was too little, too late, but also said the agency could use all the help it can get when it comes to the subway’s homeless issues.

“Every New Yorker can see that the problem of homeless on the subway has exploded, and the MTA has requested the city assist with this problem numerous times,” Young said.

6th Annual Walk for Warmth on October 6th, 2019

 

Hello Everyone!

It brings me great pleasure to invite you to our 6th Annual Walk for Warmth on October 6th, 2019. This year we have officially renamed our walk after the late Karen Stedman.


This year we have added an exciting twist to our walk, a spectator ferry ride! We have also included the scenic Highline, where we will be walking through gardens, experiencing an impromptu street performance or two and seeing our city from a unique perspective.  

Last year our Walk for warmth raised over $20,000 for sleeping bags and socks for the homeless.

Despite the rising cost of sleeping bags, we were able to collect and distribute over 600 sleeping bags to families in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We couldn't have done it without you!!

I've attached the proposed walk for your review. Please save the date as we look forward to you joining us that day. Join us for a part of, or the entire Karen Stedman Walk for Warmth 2019.

Yours Faithfully,
Tariq


Tariq George 

Vice President 

The Sleeping Bag Project NYC

Wesley House 501 6th St Brooklyn                                                              Leaving 7:00AM

Head northwest on 6th St toward 7th Ave                                                                 0.4 mi

Turn left onto 5th Ave                                                                                                            3.4 mi

Turn right onto 72nd St                                                                                              0.3 mi

Turn left onto 3rd Ave                                                                                                0.1 mi

Starbucks 7419 3rd Ave Brooklyn                                                               1 h 22 min (4.1 mi)

 

Starbucks 7419 3rd Ave Brooklyn                                                               Leaving 8:50 AM

Head north on 3rd Ave toward 74th St                                                                      0.3 mi

Turn left onto Bay Ridge Ave                                                                                    0.7 mi

American Veterans Memorial Pier Bay Ridge Ave, Brooklyn                  20 min (1.0 mi)

 

                                                                                               

American Veterans Memorial Pier Bay                             Departing 9:32AM

Pier 11 / Wall St South St, New York                                   Arriving 10:12 AM                                                    

Pier 11 / Wall St. South St, New York                                                          Leaving 10:15 AM

 

Head northwest toward E River Bikeway Street View                                                                  131 ft

Turn left onto E River Bikeway Street View                                                                                 0.4 mi

Turn right toward South St Street View                                                                                         135 ft

Turn left onto South St Street View                                                                                               400 ft

Slight right to stay on South St Street View                                                                                   0.3 mi

Turn left Street View                                                                                                                      144 ft

Turn left toward Battery Bikeway Street View                                                                              0.1 mi

Turn left onto Battery Bikeway Street View                                                                                  167 ft

Turn left toward Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                           95 ft

Turn left toward Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                           82 ft

Continue onto Battery Park City Esplanade Street View                                                               1.0 mi

Turn right Street View                                                                                                                    292 ft

Slight left Street View                                                                                                                    0.2 mi

Turn right onto N Esplanade Street View                                                                                      0.1 mi

Turn left Street View                                                                                                                      1.2 mi

Continue straight Street View                                                                                                        0.2 mi

Slight left Street View                                                                                                                    0.1 mi

Slight right at Bloomfield St/Gansevoort St Street View                                                               0.2 mi

Turn right toward 10th Ave Street View                                                                                        233 ft

Turn left onto 10th Ave Street View                                                                                              36 ft

Turn right onto W 14th St Street View                                                                                          0.2 mi

Turn left onto 9th Ave Street View                                                                                                249 ft

Starbucks 61 9th Ave, New York                                                                 1 h 23 min (4.2 miles)

                                               

Starbucks 61 9th Ave New York                                                                  Leaving 12:30PM

Head northwest on W 15th St toward 10th Ave                                                         0.1 mi

Turn right onto 10th Ave                                                                                            272 ft

Turn right onto W 16th St                                                                                          125 ft

Turn left, Take the stairs                                                                                             105 ft

Turn right onto High Line                                                                                          482 ft             

Continue straight to stay on High Line                                                                       1.0 mi

High Line Start Point 5861 High Line, New York                                      27 min (1.4 mi)

Head northeast on High Line toward W 34th St                                                        72 ft

Turn right onto W 34th St                                                                                          0.6 mi

Turn left onto 8th Ave/Eighth Ave                                                                             0.8 mi

Turn right onto W 51st St                                                                                           0.1 mi

Ellen’s Stardust Diner 1650 Broadway, New York                                   33 min (1.6 mi)

                                                                                                                        1 h 0 min (3.0 mi)

 

Ellen’s Stardust Diner 1650 Broadway, New York                                   Leaving 2:45 PM

Head northwest on W 51st St toward Broadway                                                       138 ft

Turn left onto Broadway                                                                                            1.8 mi

Continue onto Union Square W                                                                                 0.1 mi

Turn left at E 15th St                                                                                                  39 ft

Turn right toward Broadway                                                                                      394 ft

Turn right onto Broadway                                                                                          1.2 mi

Turn left after Bank of America Financial Center (on the left)                                 0.1 mi

Starbucks 241 Canal St, New York                                                              1 h 08 min (3.4 mi)

 

Starbucks 241 Canal St, New York                                                              Leaving 4:00 PM

Head southeast on Canal St toward Centre St                                                            0.2 mi

Slight right to stay on Canal St                                                                                   446 ft

Turn left toward Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                                  30 ft

Turn left onto Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                                      1.2 mi

Take the stairs                                                                                                             79 ft

Sharp right to stay on Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path                                          131 ft

Turn left toward Jay St                                                                                               30 ft

Turn left onto Jay St                                                                                                   499 ft

Turn left onto Nassau St                                                                                             226 ft

Nassau St turns slightly right and becomes Bridge Plaza Ct                                     85 ft

Turn left toward Flatbush Ave Ext                                                                             66 ft

Turn right onto Flatbush Ave Ext & then Flatbush Ave                                            1.4 mi

Turn right onto 6th Ave                                                                                              0.8 mi

Turn left onto 6th St                                                                                                   0.2 mi

Wesley House, 501 6th St Brooklyn                                                              1 h 26 min (4.3 mi)

                                                                                                                        Arriving 5:30 PM

Beating the odds, more than 100 homeless students in New York City graduate high school

They woke up each morning in a New York City homeless shelter, but they didn't let adverse circumstances block their path to success.

Last Thursday night, the city's Department of Homeless Services honored more than 100 high school graduates who made it through school while homeless. The teens are now heading to college, including Cornell, New York University and Stony Brook University.

"The strength and resilience of these young people is inspiring," New York Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio said in a news release. "And it is this same strength and resilience that has prepared them for anything and will propel them forward as they join our next generation of future leaders."

Each of the students received a laptop and a duffel bag full of college essentials.

One of the honorees, Alexus Lawrence, was her high school's valedictorian and plans to attend Brooklyn College next year. She dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

"I'm just thinking of how far I've come," Lawrence told CNN affiliate WABC. "You have your head down because it's shameful; some people may bully you if they knew you lived in the shelter system."

Lawrence's father, Henry, is a chef for a local hospital but was forced to move the family into a homeless shelter when their rent rose.

"They're homeless because of the economics, the gap between rents and income," NYC Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks told WABC.

Data shows that 114,658 students are homeless in New York City, according to the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students.

With 1.1 million students attending schools in the city, that means 1 in 10 is homeless, enough to fill Yankee Stadium twice, the group says.

New York City has been taking steps to curb homelessness, particularly among students. Last year, the Department of Education announced that it was investing an additional $12 million into programs supporting students living in temporary housing, which included hiring school-based community coordinators to help students with housing instability.


NYC homelessness in Brooklyn, Bronx largely due to domestic violence, evictions, report says

Domestic violence and evictions are displacing families, particularly in eastern Brooklyn and the South Bronx, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness's report noted that nearly 12,700 families, with some 10,750 children under 5, lived in city shelters at the end of 2018, a 55% increase from 2011. Although data shows domestic violence directed 30% of households into the shelter system — and evictions, 25% — the trajectory often includes multiple stressors, according to Chloe Stein, the principal policy analyst for the institute. 

"These triggers of homelessness don’t occur in a vacuum," Stein said, noting the report culled data from the city and U.S. Census Bureau and pulled from interviews with families in city shelters. "These families were experiencing trauma on top of trauma, where they were experiencing violence, then lost their job, and then they were kicked out of their homes."

The report pinpointed a few neighborhoods, where families struggled to remain in their homes. In East New York, 650 families entered the shelter system; followed by Mott Haven, with 648 families; and Bedford-Stuyvesant, with 550 families, according to data from the fiscal year 2015.

Stein said these neighborhoods are home to more residents who lack high school diplomas and have higher rates of unemployment and low-wage jobs.

"For homeless and low-income students, education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty," the report said. 

Stein recommended that the city tailor its efforts to curb homelessness based on the neighborhood. She said the city should consider opening job training and educational centers in neighborhoods with few good job options to assist families before they wind up in a shelter. 

"Every neighborhood has different drivers of family homelessness," Stein said. 

Issac McGinn, a representative for the city's Department of Homeless Services, said the overall number of homeless New Yorkers has leveled off over the past two years. He said the department has worked to help families exit the shelter system through its ongoing five-year plan, called Turning the Tide on Homelessness.

"Our transformation plan puts people first, offering them the opportunity to get back on their feet in their home boroughs, closer to support networks, including schools," McGinn said in a statement. 


New York’s Toughest Homeless Problem

Thousands of people live in the streets and refuse to leave. A modest number now accept shelter in “safe havens.” Bonnie Coover, a nurse practitioner, has been searching for people who need help in parks, on sidewalks and beneath railroad tracks since 2016.

By Nikita Stewart

  • May 30, 2019

They are the most visible sign of New York’s homelessness crisis: A man covered in dirt sits outside a subway station in Jamaica, Queens. Another man, cross-legged and ragged on a Midtown sidewalk, begs for money. A dozen people form an encampment in Central Park.

While the overwhelming majority — about 95 percent — of the more than 78,000 people who qualify as homeless in New York actually have temporary shelter, others live on the streets, for a host of reasons. They represent a persistent challenge. Since an annual count began more than a decade ago, that population has never fallen below about 2,300, and it hit near-record levels under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But there has been some recent cause for cautious optimism. For the second year in a row, the number of people known as chronically homeless, or “unsheltered," has fallen.

The decline, while modest, may be traced to more intense outreach efforts and an expansion of so-called safe havens. These specialized shelters have fewer restrictions and a streamlined application process to try to quickly place people into permanent housing. “We’re using every tool that we can develop to try to help people rebuild their lives,” said Steven Banks, the city commissioner of social services.

There are still thousands of people living in the open overnight. An annual count conducted in late January estimated 3,588 people fell into that category.

They are often grappling with a constellation of problems, so helping them means not only providing shelter but perhaps finding a drug rehabilitation program, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor or even guidance in a getting birth certificate or Social Security card.

Some prefer the independence of living in the street and balk at having to comply with the rules of the city’s shelter system, such as curfews or sobriety.

That differs greatly from the kind of assistance the city gives to families with children, who often simply need shelter and a voucher to find an apartment.

The number of chronically homeless people climbed to almost 4,000 after Mr. de Blasio took office, when he abruptly stopped opening shelters, including safe havens, in response to complaints from elected officials and residents who said the city was opening shelters without adequate community input. Other factors contributed to the increase, from high rents to a jump in both the number of patients discharged from mental health facilities and inmates released from jail and prison

The city changed course, and the number of beds in safe haven shelters has tripled to 1,800, with plans to add hundreds more, Mr. Banks said.

“A lot of us were saying, ‘We need beds, and we need these kinds of beds,’” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, the chief executive of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, a nonprofit that first started the safe haven model. “Better late than never.”

Safe havens are an alternative to the city’s more traditional dormitory-style shelters for single adults, which some people avoid because they have a reputation as unsafe and drug-ridden.

Hylema Aiken, who used to be part of a clutch of people who set up camp each night in Central Park near 110th Street, said she used to prefer to take her chances

Once-Homeless NYC Teen Gets Accepted Into A Dozen Colleges

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx girl who overcame homelessness to be accepted to a dozen colleges, but now a new challenge lies ahead.

One college acceptance is cause for celebration, but now Brianna Watts has 12 reasons to celebrate, reports CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

“Shocking, I guess you could say shocking,” she says of her success.

The 18-year-old Bronx teen got into every college of the dozen she applied to, beating the odds in not only in college admissions but in life.

She was brought up at times homeless by a then-crack-addicted mother who spent time in prison

Brianna stayed positive.

“I know there people worse than me who didn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat, and I still had that even though I was in a shelter,” she said.

“I always encouraged them to be better than me,” said mother Bridgette Gibbs.

Hard work paid off as the Bronxwood Preparatory Academy Student who earned honor roll every semester.

“I tried not to let my circumstance define me, who I was as a person,” said Brianna. “I went from getting 75s and 65s my ninth grade year to getting 90s my 10th grade year.”

After all that hard work, the hardest part ahead: paying for college. Even state schools.

“Room and board would be between $14,000 and $18,000,” she said.

After doing all the right things, she won’t stop now.

“I’m going to college no matter what, I don’t care how much I have to borrow,” she said.

Her past turned out not to be any deterrent for her.

“It turned out to be great because look at who I am now,” she said.

“If you can help the next person climb up because you climbed up, and be resilient,” said mom Gibbs.

That resilience is thanks in part to supportive housing run by WIN – Women In Need – an organization run by former city council speaker Christine Quinn.

“I think the fact that college isn’t accessible for all, that it’s not out-and-out free for someone like Brianna, is a terrible condemnation of education in our country,” said Quinn. “But we can’t be held back by that, we are just going to overcome it.”

As Brianna considers a dozen college choices, she’s inspired by her own mother who went back to school herself.

Harder for Homeless to Enter N.Y.C. Shelters, Report Finds

More homeless families are being denied permanent shelter in New York City, and many are being forced to reapply multiple times before the city finds them eligible to enter the system — two trends that burden already fragile families, according to a new report by the Coalition for the Homeless.

State eligibility requirements have been tightened, a change made in November at the request of the city, which is grappling with a strained shelter system that is struggling trying to meet demands. Though the city recently announced a plan to open 90 new shelters over the next five years, about 18,500 homeless people are temporarily staying in hotels and so-called cluster apartments in the meantime.

In its report, released on Tuesday, the Coalition gave the state and the city near-failing grades on its eligibility requirements, and found that the city could reduce homelessness more quickly than it has promised. Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to reduce the number of people living in shelters by 2,500 people over five years, a decrease of 4 percent from the current 60,000 people in the primary system.

According to the report, the city could achieve a reduction of about 25 percent in all of the city’s shelter systems by 2020 if the city and state adopted policies to open more affordable housing and rental subsidies for homeless people. “We don’t want the expectations to be that we can’t reduce homelessness in a meaningful way,” said Giselle Routhier, the policy director at the Coalition.

The application process became more onerous after the city petitioned the state to give them more leeway to deny shelter. Homeless people are required once again to provide documentation from multiple sources and are subjected to city investigators. Children often miss school during the application process.

The Coalition found that 42 percent of applying families were approved for shelter in December, a drop from a high of 50 percent found eligible in October. The percentage of families required to apply multiple times also rose to 45 percent from 37 percent from July to December.

KayKay Knight, 32, who has a disk disease, applied for shelter last year when the stairs in her uncle’s Brooklyn home became too difficult for her to manage, she said. Ms. Knight, who has a five-year-old daughter, said she was denied permanent shelter roughly 12 times.

She was in provisional shelter while the city investigated her case, and her uncle said he had felt harassed, creating more animosity within her family. “He didn’t want me there,” she said. “Just imagine how many times they went to his home.”

With help from the Legal Aid Society, Ms. Knight qualified in November, moving to a shelter where she can easily access a bathroom.

The Coalition still says there is more that needs to be done. The report gave the city poor rankings for failing to adequately meet the needs of mentally ill and disabled homeless people, and said it was unimpressed with its “code blue” policy of broadening access to shelters when the temperature falls to 32 degrees between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.

NYC’s Catholic Church officially opens low-income housing for the homeless in the Bronx, built on church land, overseen by Catholic Charities

By Kerry Burke  and Toni Reinhold

| New York Daily News |

Apr 08, 2019 | 7:55 PM

Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan presides over the official opening of St. Augustine Terrace in the Bronx, a new development that will provide 112 units of affordable housing for low-income families, on April 8, 2019. (Kendall Rodriguez / for New York Daily News)

He worked two jobs and still couldn’t afford a New York City apartment, so for six years James Jennings lived in his car.

Not anymore. Jennings now resides at St. Augustine Terrace at Fulton Ave. and 167th St. in the Bronx, a 112-unit apartment house for low-income families developed by the Catholic Church on property it owns.

On Monday, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, and the city’s first lady Chirlane McCray, officially opened the building where a church once stood.

St. Augustine Terrace, which opened to tenants in November, is part of a plan by Catholic Homes New York, the affordable housing unit of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York, to develop 2,000 affordable units over the next 10 years. The Archdiocese is reviewing other Church properties with an eye on affordable housing.

Tenants at St. Augustine need to earn 60% or less of the area’s median income (AMI), said Catholic Charities spokeswoman Maya Bronstein. “Today, the Catholic Church of New York City is taking the lead in ensuring that low-income New Yorkers have access to well-built, well-maintained housing, along with the services to help those with the greatest needs,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, head of Catholic Charities of New York, which oversees 2,336 affordable housing units in the city and Yonkers. He said it will grow to more than 4,000 by 2029.

St. Augustine Terrace in the Bronx, a new development that will provide 112 units of affordable housing for low-income families, April 8, 2019. (Kendall Rodriguez / for New York Daily News)

“This is so much more than a building for Bronx families who struggle to make ends meet,” McCray said. “It provides the peace of mind.”

St. Augustine Terrace was financed under the Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s extremely low and low-income affordability program. Thirty-five units are ear-marked for adults with mental illness. It is also certified energy and environmentally friendly, which can lead to cost savings.

“It’s the first of many coming,” Cardinal Dolan said, pronouncing the building “stunning.” Design and paperwork have begun for five other developments in the Bronx and one in Manhattan.

Referencing a season of penitence culminating with Easter on April 21, Dolan said, “We are in Lent. It’s about fasting, but this is the fasting I want. Housing the oppressed and the homeless.”

Jennings, 53, who has a studio in the new building, says he has the immune system disease lupus and other health issues. Nonetheless, he says he is “inspired every day.”

“I was homeless for six years,” he explained. “I worked two jobs and lived in my 4x4. I’m no longer off the grid. Now, my life really matters. The idea is to get my feet planted and help people through my own experience,” said Jennings, who wants to counsel the homeless.

“We will continue hosting of affordable housing,” Dolan said. “Next week we will observe the gruesome death of a homeless person named Jesus and his resurrection from a donated tomb.”