Thursday, June 27, 2013

Toiletry drive still going strong!

Our June toiletries drive has been a huge success so far and there's still time for you to ensure you are a part of it.
Thanks to donations from PS 144Q in Queens, STORY in Manhattan, PS 398 in Brooklyn and more, we have gathered hundreds of travel-sized toiletries that will be put together in kits to be distributed to homeless clients all over New York City.
We are still looking for more travel sized shampoos and soaps. If you have the ability to donate, bring new and unopened toiletries to our administrative office at 30 E. 33rd Street or to Susan's Place in the Bronx. For the complete listing of what we accept and what we are unable to accept, check out our Critical Needs List HERE.
Thank you for continuing to support Care for the Homeless. We can't do it without you!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

City Budget Handshake on a $70 Billion Budget

Late on Sunday, the Mayor and leaders of City Council announced a “handshake” agreement on a $70 billion city budget that included no tax increases, restored most of the spending cuts proposed in this year’s original Executive Budget Proposal and spends approximately the same amount as last year. Some called it a status quo budget, which isn't surprising for the final budget in an outgoing city administration.

The good news for those concerned about poverty issues and homelessness in New York City is that the most egregious cuts were restored. It’s a usual part of budget negotiations for the city administration to cut programs in their proposed budget that they know City Council will fight for – and that’s what budget negotiations are often about. Restored in this year’s budget was $58 million to NYCHA to make up for federal sequestration cuts to programs like Section 8 housing dollars, and funding that would have cut the already insufficient 252 city shelter beds for unaccompanied homeless youth. It restores funding to libraries. The budget also has about $250 million in capital projects for Hurricane Sandy related projects and repairs.

The bad news, of course, is that this budget doesn't adopt the kinds of homeless prevention projects or homelessness ending programs proposed in the Care for the Homeless Agenda to End Homelessness. We know those programs, like funding for adequate primary and preventative health care for every homeless person, more affordable housing for very-low income New Yorkers, supportive housing for those who need it and a workable rental subsidy to move homeless people from shelter to permanent housing will produce far better outcomes and save tax dollars over time.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good News from Washington!

Here’s good news: there’s a really good, bipartisan and common sense thing going on in Congress! A Republican, Senator John Thune, and a Democrat, Senator Bob Casey, recently introduced legislation (Senate Bill 955) that would extend the Federal Tort Claims Act medical malpractice insurance coverage now in place at Federally Qualified Health Clinics, such as Care for the Homeless, to cover professional health care providers who are willing to volunteer at these health centers.  The same bill is about to be introduced in the House in Washington, too.
This legislation that they’re calling the Family Health Care Accessibility Act recognizes that the 1,200 nonprofit community health centers serve about 22 million individuals who would often otherwise lack access to health care. For example, Care for the Homeless serves between 8-and-10,000 homeless individuals annually with high-quality client-centered care who, without our clinics, would probably not receive primary health care.
This proposed law will allow coverage for doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who would volunteer their valuable service
s at clinics like ours. Without it, most health care professionals willing to volunteer simply cannot reasonably do so.
Providing appropriate high-quality health care to people in need is not a partisan issue. Encouraging volunteerism allows for greater health care access and lowers public costs. It’s the right thing and the common sense thing to do. CFH Executive Director Bobby Watts has contacted every member of the New York congressional delegation urging them to co-sponsor and support this legislation.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The same bill passed the House last session with only 1 negative vote, but wasn’t voted on in the Senate. Please add your voice by contacting your Senators and Representatives asking that they, too, champion this good, common sense legislation.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CFH In Action: Physical Wellness

Care for the Homeless strives to help our homeless clients get healthy and stay that way, even when they aren't in our clinics. Case Manager Training Specialist Anisha Perez-Miller spent an afternoon with some of the residents of the Willow Family Shelter in the Bronx putting healthy living into action. Check it out below!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sequestration Cuts Hit NYC Hard

Three months into federal government sequestration cuts, it’s all too easy to lose focus on the day-by-day impact. But it’s working its way through the system and affecting real people with real dire problems.
We’ve learned that cuts in federal funding for Section 8 housing will dramatically impact New York City. The city’s Housing Preservation and Development Department (HPD), Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal have cut about 5,000 housing vouchers already planned to be issued in the city. Think 5,000 families in or on the brink of homelessness that would have been assisted with permanent housing…who now won’t.
It may be psychologically less painful to think about because these are not families cut off from a housing subsidy they currently have, but the outcome is the same. “The real problem is,” HPD Commissioner Matthew Wambua said, “these are our neediest tenants, the ones who cannot even afford the units in our developments.”  Wambua supplied some figures about HPD’s section 8 recipients: 32% are elderly and 44% disabled.   
The cuts actually will cause pain to current participants, too. HPD plans to change the formula for many current recipients, increasing their share of the rent from $100 to as high as $400.
The crying shame is that we know permanent housing for homeless families, whether under Section 8, affordable housing, a rental subsidy or supportive housing, produce better results and save tax dollars. That’s something most academics, advocates and policymakers agree on.

It underscores the Care for the Homeless agenda to End Homelessness, which is built on the belief that modern-day homelessness was created through bad public policy choices, and better public policy can end homelessness as we know it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

You can vote even without a permanent address!

Voting is a critical basic right for every American. Election day is one time during the year when every participating citizen gets an equal share of decision-making power, but you have to be registered to vote. The Care for the Homeless client Boards, our Consumer Advisory Board and our HIV Advisory Council will soon be sponsoring their annual nonpartisan voter registration drive – but right now we’re urging everyone to get registered.

In New York state the law (and a 1984 court decision) guarantees the right to vote to homeless people whether they live in a shelter, a hotel or on the streets. You don’t need a permanent house address, but you can list whatever address you are currently at so long as you have an address to receive your voter registration card at (that can be a shelter, drop in center or somewhere else).

Here are the additional requirements to register and vote:
·         Be a United States citizen
·         Be 18 years old by the date of the election to vote
·         Live at your registration location 30 days prior to the election to vote in that voting district
·         Not be in jail or on parole (people on probation can vote)