Poll: NYers Pan City's Homeless Policy, Support Shelter Time Limits
Only one in four survey respondents approve of the mayor's handling of homelessness, even though most say they haven't seen an increase in homelessness under the mayor.
New Yorkers overwhelmingly disapprove of Mayor Bloomberg's handling of homelessness, and most believe shelter should be provided regardless of where a person comes from, a new survey finds.
The poll of roughly 1,000 New York City adults—conducted over the summer at the behest of the Institute on Children, Poverty and Homelessness—finds that a third of Bronx residents and nearly two in five black New Yorkers knows someone who recently became homeless. One in 10 Bronx residents has spent at least one night in a homeless shelter, double the rate for the other boroughs.
HELP USA's George Nashak and Homeless Services United's Christy Parque.
Homeless policy has dogged the last four mayors of New York City. David Dinkins criticized Ed Koch's approach, but Dinkins scaled back his promises once he took office. Rudy Giuliani engaged in a pitched battle with homeless advocates over proposed, draconian shelter policies. Mike Bloomberg targeted a massive reduction in homelessness but the numbers have climbed dramatically during his tenure.
Along with addressing overdue contracts for city workers and figuring out how many billions of dollars worth of shoreline fortifications the city ought to built, the next mayor will have to grapple with nearly 50,000 people in the shelter system.
A man sleeps in the Norwood D-train station in 2010. (File)
The Department of Homeless Services on Wednesday announced a "2013 reduction in street homelessness" that included a "decline of 28 percent across the five boroughs since 2005."
That was the good news.
The city's annual survey of the homeless, a one-night census conducted in January, did show a decrease of 2.5 percent in the number of people estimated to be living in streets, parks and other public places, from 3,262 in 2012 to 3,180 this year. Since 2005, when the survey began, the number of people living in the open has fallen by 28 percent.
The guard tower at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
According to city data, 30 percent of New York City's homeless shelter entrants have been incarcerated. According to a Justice Department survey, in 2008 and 2009 Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan had the highest inmate-reported rate of staff sexual abuse of any prison or jail in the country that participated in the research.
According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), City Limits' reporting on both stories was among the best examples in 2011 of reporting that was able to "skillfully bring home to us the critical issues that affect justice and safety in our nation.”
A female U.S. soldier provides first aid to an Iraqi civilian. According to the DOD, some 15 percent of active duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guard and Air Force members are women. According to the GAO, the number of women who end up homeless after leaving the service more than doubled from 2006 to 2010.
The Government Accountability Office said women veterans failed to receive housing referrals, usually could not access a shelter that served both women and children, worried about the safety of such shelters and sometimes weren't even aware of the services that do exist.
What's more, the GAO found, VA's existing data on women veterans was spotty, making it hard to "plan services effectively, allocate grants to providers, and track progress toward its overall goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.
A new report on homelessness in New York calls for some shelter residents to be housed for a year to 18 months, so they can get the time and resources needed to become self-sufficient.
The plan, by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness, says the current shelter system works fairly well for the roughly 50 percent of homeless families who need help only because of a temporary financial emergency.
But the rest of the homeless population, the report says, needs more help. Some 35 percent require a longer housing stay.
In a blow to as many as 16,000 formerly homeless people, a state judge ruled Tuesday that the Bloomberg administration has the legal right to end a rent subsidy program after state and federal budget cuts left the city as its lone funder.
The decision on the Work Advantage Program was "bad news, but the legal fight is still not over," says Coalition for the Homeless senior policy analyst Patrick Markee.
The Work Advantage Program helped formerly homeless people rent apartments by providing up to two years of subsidies. In this year's state budget, Albany withdrew its one-third share of the $200 million annual funding for the program, a move that also eliminated federal support for it. The Bloomberg administration then stopped adding new renters to the program and planned to stop payments for people already participating. Advocates went to court to block the move, and a judge ordered payments to continue while the case played out.
Members of several organizations from all over the city met outside of City Hall on Monday morning to rally against the proposed cuts to meals and housing for New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. Armed with protest signs, they spoke out against Mayor Bloomberg's plan to cut what they say amounts to almost $ 1 million from meal services, and an additional $5 million in funding for supportive housing.
One potential casualty of the proposed cuts is the Momentum Project, a volunteer-run organization that has been helping people with AIDS and HIV since 1985. Donnell Tillman-Basket, director of client services at Momentum, said that if the organization does wind up closing, the results would be disastrous.