Thursday, September 18, 2014

Top 5 Reasons Why We Love You

Yes, ALL of you
Donors like you make our work possible. This month, we wanted to say a special note of thanks, and then, we realized we had more than one thing to say. 

Here are the top 5 reasons why we love you: 

5.  Your support is critical, funding program expansions like our new Mobile Health Clinic  

4. You inspire others to give, volunteer, and advocate. 

3. You are passionate about transforming the lives of homeless families   

2. The impact of your support is felt in your communities 

1. You give more than money; you provide hope to more than 8,000 homeless men, women, and children.


Photo by Nancy Ribeck


Thank you for making our work possible.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Political Courage and Homelessness in New York City

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

Few things in life are rarer than real political courage.

How often do you find political leaders, particularly elected officials longing to stay elected, standing up for locally unpopular issues at the height of their controversy? This is the province of unique experience, strange curiosity and genuine oddity.

Yet at a time of dramatically increasing stigmatization of poor and especially homeless people, particularly in New York City’s Queens Borough where several new homeless shelters have or are scheduled to open, New Yorkers have been treated to an extraordinary show of bravery from political leaders speaking out for what is unpopular among their electorate seemingly just because it’s the right thing to do.

That’s about as quirky as the Big Apple itself.

In July, the City’s Department of Homeless Services opened a family homeless shelter in the defunct former Pan American Hotel in Queen’s Elmhurst neighborhood. It opened on an emergency basis, meaning without the normal requirements for review, public notice and community input.  The emergency occurred because the City is required to provide shelter by court order, but increasing homelessness – especially among families – resulted in there being no more room at bursting-at-the-seams city shelters.

The emergency allowed for speed in opening the new facility, which promptly filled and then overflowed with homeless people, but it most assuredly didn’t avoid the generally expected response of “Not-In-My-Backyard” protests. For weeks, residents and community groups in the heavily immigrant neighborhood held demonstrations regularly.  Sometimes it got ugly, including scenes on TV of locals screaming at shelter residents – including teenagers and younger children – name-calling, and alarmingly threatening crowds.

Then a remarkable thing happened.

Elmhurst’s City Council Member, came to the shelter  and publicly handed backpacks out to the kids as part of a back to school drive. A former school teacher, Dromm talked about the children’s education and offered shelter residents encouragement. He did this in public, in his own district, where there was charged opposition to the shelter.

That’s a profile in courage.

Shortly thereafter, the City Council’s Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents an adjoining, mostly middle class Queens district, wrote an article in the Daily News about his own family’s experience with poverty and homelessness.  His was an all too common story—a lost job, his family wearing out its welcome in the homes of extended family, and then living at an “awful place”—a city shelter circa 1970. It was a story most people who knew or voted for the Councilman had never heard.

Van Bramer succeeded in putting a face on homelessness. He captured many readers, if only briefly, in the realization that the next homeless family might be very much like their neighbors, their relatives, or perhaps even their own family.

“As the city declares war on inequality and Mayor de Blasio rightly takes a humane and honest approach to ending homelessness, we must all be part of the solution,” Van Bramer wrote. “All human beings have a right to shelter. Some may say that’s feel-good liberalism run amok, but in the City of New York, it happens to be the law. We must house our homeless and that means finding places for families like mine to live and begin again.”

Telling his story, at that particular moment, is another profile in political courage.

In these times, when poverty and homelessness are so stigmatized, it’s inspirational to see these acts of courageous leadership. As Van Bramer writes, it’s not just about providing the resources to support these programs, it’s about providing “a little bit of hope.”

Learn more about homelessness in New York City in Jeff Foreman's article, originally published on September 11, 2014 by TalkPoverty.org. Read more.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Health Empowered Beauty Fashion Show Draws Sold-Out Crowd

Care for the Homeless Kicks Off NYC Fashion Week

Billed as the only fashion show during NYC Fashion Week that changed the lives of homeless women--the event featured residents of Susan's Place, our 200-bed shelter for homeless women in the Bronx, as models. The sold-out crowd gave several standing ovations during the event, which raised more than $8,000 for Susan's Place. 

One of the models, Lizette, talked about the struggles she's overcome in her own life, sharing: "A couple of years ago, I never would have had the self-confidence to do something like this."

Since opening the shelter in 2008, over 900 women have moved out of Susan's Place and into permanent housing. Less than 8% become homeless again.

Photos by Redens Desrosiers

View photos from the September 4th Fashion Show in our online Photo Album here.

Looking for more information about the incredible designers who generously sponsored the Fashion Show
Follow the links below to learn more about the clothing lines.

Learn more about Head Stylist and the Traveling Trousseau here.

Many thanks to all our Sponsors:





Thanks to our generous supporters, Care for the Homeless is changing lives every day. We're on the front lines of a crisis. Over 60,000 men, women and children are homeless every night in NYC. Your contributions provide critical services to the most vulnerable, at a time when they need our help the most.

From all of us at Care for the Homeless, thank you.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Basic Algebra @ Care for the Homeless

Your Partnership + Care for the Homeless = Success!

30,000+ school supplies were donated to our Back to School Drive, not only did you fill a back pack but you filled a high need! 

There are over 80,000 homeless school children in New York City, and thanks to you they are prepared for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

A very, very special thanks goes out to the employees at West Side Foods for donating 22 boxes of school supplies, 4 Kids in Need for a fun back to school event, the Institute for Family Health for their continuous partnership, and YOU our extraordinary supporters! 

We are HONORED to count all of you among our generous sponsors, see you next year! 




See more photos of our Back to School Drive supporters and the children after the jump.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here’s A Summer Must Read, and a Brave Call to Action

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer published a great article in Sunday’s New Daily News that startled a number of people.  It was startling because Councilman Van Bramer wrote about his own family’s experience with homelessness – a story certainly most people had never heard.

It was a great story because Van Bramer put a face on homelessness and touched people who normally don’t think about homelessness or that the next homeless family in New York might be very much like your neighbor’s family, your own relatives or perhaps the family of your Council member or you.

Van Bramer used his story to call on all citizens to be part of the solution: “As the city declares war on inequality and Mayor de Blasio rightly takes a humane and honest approach to ending homelessness, we must all be part of the solution. All human beings have a right to shelter. Some may say that’s feel-good liberalism run amok, but in the City of New York, it happens to be the law. We must house our homeless and that means finding places for families like mine to live and begin again.” 

You should read the whole story here.

In a time of dramatically increasing stigmatization of poor or homeless people, that’s often resulted in criminalization of poverty or homelessness or, worse, outright attacks on people experiencing homelessness, it’s inspiring to see our Council Majority Leader leading on a controversial issue.  Championing homeless people may not be the most “politic” thing to do; but it’s the right thing to do.


Thank you Councilman Van Bramer! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Congratulations to City Councilman Steve Levin

On Winning Dedication Award from NYC PHCH

Last week City Councilman Steve Levin, Chairman of Council’s General Welfare Committee, was the recipient of a “Dedication to Improving the Lives of NYC Under Served People” Award presented by the NYC Providers of Health Care for the Homeless (PHCH).  CFH is a charter member of PHCH and CFH Assistant Executive Director Debbian Fletcher-Blake introduced Councilman Levin and presented him with the award.

Councilman Levin has long fought for poor, homeless or underserved New Yorkers and as Committee Chair has been a leading advocate for targeting housing resources to people experiencing homelessness. He told the group of 100 participants at the conference “people who do the life-saving and life-changing work of providing health care and help to homeless people, usually with little recognition, are an inspiration to me in my work on Council” and promised to “be a partner in the fight to do what is right.”

Also recognized at the conference was Care for the Homeless Health Information Specialist John Hyun who received a S/HERO Award from PHCH. S/Hero awards are given annually by PHCH to outstanding providers of service who are nominated and selected by their colleagues at their service agency. Hyun’s award was presented by Dr. Marissa Toussaint, CFH’s Medical Director.

The NYC Providers of Health Care for the Homeless conference is held annually on the occasion of national Health Care for the Homeless Day. The conference was held at the Javits Federal Building in Manhattan.  Other speakers included John Lozier, Executive Director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council; Beverly Grossman, Senior Policy Director of the Community Health Care Association of New York State; Dr. Dova Marder, Medical Director of the city Department of Homeless Services; Dr. James O’Connell, President of Boston’s Health Care for the Homeless Program; and Gilbert Taylor, Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services.       

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fill a backpack, fill a need!


Did you know there are over 80,000 homeless school children in New York City? 

Thousands of homeless parents are worrying about not being able to afford the items on their children’s school supply list. 

You can help ensure that homeless children are not left behind or forgotten by donating much needed school supplies this summer. This small gesture creates an encouraging environment for academic success by building confidence for the new academic year.

When: July 17 - August 22

Where: Drop off supplies at 30 East 33rd Street, 5th Floor, NY, NY 10016 
            or Susan's Place 1911 Jerome Avenue, BX. 

Questions? Email Rosanna at rmontilla@cfhnyc.org or call 212-366-4459 ext. 202. 

Thank you to our committed sponsors, West Side Foods, 4 Kids in Need, Institute for Family Health and all of our generous donors for inspiring homeless children.