Many Homeless People Just Like Those Displaced By Hurricane Sandy

Care for the Homeless client leader Gayle Dorsky, and CFH Policy Director Jeff Foreman, appeared before an emergency hearing of the Council General Welfare Committee on Friday to testify about the plight of Hurricane Sandy evacuees still without stable housing, and the needs of tens of thousands of homeless New Yorkers. They spoke up for the Sandy victims still homeless, displaced through no fault of their own. But they also spoke for other people experiencing homelessness.

Client leader Gayle Dorsky
The emergency hearing drew an overflow crowd, many of whom had to watch portions of the hearing by closed-circuit in an adjoin room, as well as ten members of Council, two who weren't even members of that committee. Presided over by Chairwoman Annabel Palma, the four hour meeting included testimony by city Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond, as well advocates like Care for the Homeless and Hurricane Sandy victims, about 196 of whom are facing a May 1st termination of city support that may make them homeless.

“Many of the evacuees,” Foreman said, “were very similar to many New Yorkers caught in homelessness, or on the verge of it. Those at risk of homelessness are typically low-income workers or people with very low income or disabled on a very-low fixed income. Like the Sandy victims, a displacement by natural causes or emergency not completely in their control – like domestic violence, aging out of foster care, illness, divorce, or a thousand other life circumstances – can easily push them over the edge of a risk of homelessness into homelessness itself. Many of the Sandy evacuees may have lost their jobs along with their homes, and their displacements disrupted their social connections and other supports that made their daily existence easier – just like most other homeless people.” 

Gayle Dorsky, who serves on one of CFH’s consumer advisory boards, told Council members about the added heartbreak of becoming homeless when going through already trying difficulties like illness or domestic violence. She asked for help for both Sandy victims and others experiencing homelessness. Foreman and Dorsky gave each member of the Council committee a copy of the Care for the Homeless Policy Agenda to End Homelessness (find it here) and urged them to commit the will and the resources to end homelessness as we know it in New York City by adopting better public policies. You can read the full CFH testimony here.

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