The State of Homelessness in NYC and How to Help
There is not one day that goes by as a New Yorker that you don’t witness a homeless person pick something out of the garbage, sleep on absolutely dirty streets, and beg for a change or a bite to eat. Homelessness is one of the most important issues the 5 boroughs face, and it’s incredibly painful to watch. Especially if you are a college student like me and realize that making any amount of dough for food or beer is tough enough.
As of January 2016, there are over 60,000 homeless people, most of them children, wandering the streets. The biggest cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. And New York City is steadily becoming more expensive for all of us eventually, it’ll turn the whole place into a modern Palace of Versailles. In fact, a survey done by the Coalition of Homeless states that more than 60 percent of the City’s homeless live on the streets of Midtown Manhattan, the financial district hub of million-dollar businesses, buildings, celebrities, and overall rich people.
The homeless shelters that we even have in this city tell us that there is even more horror. In shelters, there have been cases of thievery, public indecency, and rape. Some folks choose not to go to shelters whether they are full or not. Rather they take to the streets because they see it as being the safer option. Which is absolutely nuts and disgusting!
Both the city and state government acknowledge that this is a problem, but they either do not know how to solve the problem, or they keep fighting with each other because government works when it’s not effective or something. ::Inserts Picture of Congress::
So, considering all of this, what can someone like me do to help? Well, here are some organizations, an amazing app you download. Check out the spots below for more information:
The Ali Forney Center: (224 W. 35th St. 15th Floor-Between 7th & 8th) This is an organization that deals with homeless LGBT youth (which, according to their website, makes up for more than 40% of the homeless youth in the city). They provide housing with on-site counselors, education programs, health services, and employment assistance.
New York City Rescue Mission: (90 Lafayette St. – Soho) The Mission provides inpatients 9-12 recovery programs for work therapy, job readiness, life skills, and much more. They also help out with education, providing folks with reading, math, writing, and typing skills
. ADDITIONALLY, they have clothing swaps, dormitories, chapel services, and a food kitchen! Great stuff they do.
WeShelter NYC Homeless App: A free app available on iOS and Android. It works by tapping a big green button and one of WeShelter’s sponsors donates money to homeless organizations. You can open the App anytime you want, but as the iOS description states, many users open it when they see a homeless person in need. You also have the ability to dial 311 and get direct assistance for individuals who need immediate help, as well as checking your progress to see how much good you’ve done! You also have the option to sign up to volunteer at a local shelter.
Women in Need: (115 West 31st St. 7th Floor-Between 7th & 6th) They provide help to the most susceptible of poverty and homelessness: families. They help put patients on alcohol and drug treatments and find permeant housing for single parent families. They also get kids on education programs and enable adults to have the confidence they absolutely need in order to be stable, healthy, and back in the workforce.