Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Invitation to Our Free Homeless Memorial Day Event

Housing is Health Care. You’ve heard the statistics before. And you can take it from the Care for the Homeless clinicians who treat people experiencing homelessness every day. 

But now we’re inviting you to join Care for the Homeless and our clients in remembering those who died this year without stable housing, and to talk about how we can end homelessness as we know it. 

The occasion is our Homeless Memorial Day program.
Homeless Memorial Day is traditionally observed on December 21st because that’s the longest, darkest night of the year. It’s a chance to memorialize many people who otherwise might not get any memorial at all; and a chance to join hands to work to fight, prevent and end homelessness.  That is what we’re all about.

Homeless Memorial Day was observed last year in at least 175 communities in the U.S. Thousands and thousands of Americans took time to participate.

Care for the Homeless Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day
Saturday, December 21, 2013
3:30 p.m. until about 6 p.m. 
New Song Church
2230 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (8th Avenue)
between 120th and 121st Street, in Harlem

The program includes live entertainment, music, food and a memorial including our wall of remembrance and the lighting of candles and tolling of a bell as the names are read of those who passed away without housing in New York City this year.  

Care for the Homeless clinicians and health providers will offer information and some services to those in attendance, and we’ve also lined up other groups who will be offering special informational and consumer services.

This isn’t just for Care for the Homeless clients and employees: it’s open to everyone who cares about people experiencing homelessness.

We especially invite all people who are homeless or struggling with housing, and anyone who wishes to remember or add the name of someone you lost in 2013 without stable housing. Anyone with a name can help memorialize that person. 

We hope you’ll join with us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kindness is a gift that can change a life in an instant.

Creating a fundraising page for our year-end Gift of Kindness campaign takes less than 3 minutes. You can change lives.  

Over 57,000 people are homeless every night in NYC. We've seen a 22% increase in child homelessness in the last year. The need for Care for the Homeless is greater than ever.   

Our year-end campaign The Gift of Kindness kicks off today. Make a difference for homeless fathers coping with the stress of raising a family in shelter. Provide hope to a woman at Susan's Place as she moves out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Give the gift of kindness this holiday season and help us reach over 8,000 homeless men, women and children.

Click here to make a donation.
Click here to start your own online fundraising page to support Care for the Homeless.

On behalf of 8,000 homeless men, women and children we serve, THANK YOU.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Report Released: “How Budget Cuts Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Safe”

Jeff Foreman, Policy Director

The Congressional Budget Conference Committee meets this week in Washington. It’s important to think about how past and proposed “safety net” budget cuts hurt vulnerable people, especially those experiencing homelessness. This is the Committee with the goal, though frankly little expectation, of crafting a “grand compromise” ending the sequestration/budget battle, government shutdown threat and debt ceiling crisis.

Last week the nonpartisan NDD United (NDD stands for Non-Defense Discretionary, as in the domestic spending half of sequestration cuts that hurt people in our communities) released a report. They fittingly called it “How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Safe.” Their point was to put a face on the suffering and loses program cuts have caused to real people.

It’s true. In New York City, for example, housing officials had anticipated 5,000 new housing vouchers for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. After sequestration cuts the number of vouchers went from 5,000 to 0. Zero! 

In fact, not only did 5,000 families with kids lose out on affordable housing, officials have had to raise rents on many poor families already getting vouchers. The program guaranteed a subsidy for the portion of approved rent in approved apartments that exceeded 30% of the family’s gross income. That 30% cap is based on the government definition of what’s “affordable.”  

Those cuts guarantee more homeless families and more homeless kids in New York. They don’t actually save money over time because it costs far more to house families in shelters than the full subsidies cost.

Some people don’t realize the 2013 sequestration cuts of 5% to affected domestic spending was on top of big 2011 cuts. If nothing changes there’ll be more automatic sequestration cuts this year, and for 8 more budgets. Those cuts would devastate America’s promise to provide a safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors – mostly kids, elderly and disabled neighbors.

It’ll slash or eliminate programs to provide health care, educate kids, get mental health and addiction treatment to those who need it ($270 million in health center cuts – like the 30 clinics Care for the Homeless operates), keep seniors with special needs in their own homes and provide decent housing for families. The Congressional Budget Office reports just the cuts so far and the automatic cuts this year will result in 900,000 jobs lost. Getting 900,000 Americans, including thousands in New York City, back to work would do more to balance the federal budget than draconian domestic spending cuts that actually create social problems.

That’s where you come in. It’s urgent you contact your members of Congress to deliver a critical message.  No more cuts in programs that deliver medical care and mental health services to people who need it. Don’t decimate programs providing housing to families. Stop cutting nutrition, job training and vital programs for kids and the elderly.

These cuts are a false economy. They cost us more over time but deliver only negative results. Not to mention the cuts are inhumane and wrong. 

The Congressional switchboard number is 202-234-3121. Please call today!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We should all do as much as we can to care for those less fortunate.

From one of our extraordinary donors: “Great – glad I could help. I admire your organization – we should all do as much as we can to care for those less fortunate.” 

We truly want to take the time to thank all of our donors for their continuous support in our efforts to end homelessness.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A New Progressive Agenda

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

New York is flush with conversation about the new city administration and the typical who is coming/who is going chatter, not to mention the interest in who the new City Council Speaker will be. It is exciting. And for homeless advocates there’s special excitement with a new Mayor committed to a progressive agenda that includes housing the homeless and 200,000 units of affordable housing. We’re also excited with the prospect of Councilwoman Letitia James, who stood with our Care for the Homeless contingent on the steps of City Hall at a recent United to End Homelessness rally, and Scott Stringer as new citywide officials.

Mayor-elect de Blasio has taken on the most hopeful agenda to fight homelessness in New York City ever. His promise of 200,000 units of affordable housing, commitment to reinstate a priority for people experiencing homelessness to get NYCHA and Section 8 housing, and his pledge to never cut shelter beds for runaway and homeless children give us all great hope. People should remember that as Councilman Bill de Blasio chaired the General Welfare Committee that oversees the city Department of Homeless Services; he is more expert on city homelessness and housing issue than any incoming Mayor in history.

Care for the Homeless does the life-sustaining and life-saving work, every day, of providing health care and human services to families and individuals experiencing homelessness in New York City. With a new city administration pledged to fight to house the homeless we’re more certain than ever that we can fight, prevent and actually end homelessness as we know it.

That’s what the Care for the Homeless Agenda to End Homelessness is all about. You can check it out here. Modern day mass homelessness didn’t plague New York, or America, before the late 1970s. It doesn’t have to be like this. We can and we must end homelessness.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

One in twenty ...

One out of every 20 public-school students is living in a homeless shelter. Homeless children are sick four times more often than those who are housed. Because of the generous support of our donors, Care for the Homeless is on the front lines, providing critical medical, dental and mental health care to families who needs us most.

Learn more about our pediatric programming and all our services--and how you can volunteer to help--on our web site: www.careforthehomeless.org.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Road Map to Wipe Out Homelessness

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

There's reason for optimism about ending homelessness as we know it in New York City.

Sure, the problem has never been worse. There are 57,000 homeless people daily in city homeless shelters or living on the streets, probably more. At least 22,000 of them are kids and, for them,
brushes with homelessness may lead to a lifetime of consequences.

But now a loosely knit network of community-based groups, calling themselves United to End Homelessness, have joined to author and promote a detailed plan. They fittingly called it "A Roadmap to Ending Homelessness."

The timing isn't random. It comes just weeks before an election sure to shake up city policies for decades with a new mayor, all new citywide officials and several new City Council members, too. Nicole Branca, deputy executive director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, is a steering committee member. She says the group’s hope "is that this briefing book provides the next administration with the research, ideas and motivation to develop and start implementing a plan to end homelessness on day one."

This is no pie-in-the-sky plan from do-gooders. It's a war plan against homelessness that actually saves taxpayer dollars. Their research says it costs $36,000 a year to keep a family in shelter, but just $6,000 to prevent homelessness in the first place.

They say the city and state pay $78 a day for a person in shelter, $165 if they're in prison and $802 a day for a psychiatric hospital. The cost of subsidizing a homeless person in housing, including the supportive services they need, is $68.

The city's Department of Homeless Services spends nearly $1 billion yearly on homeless shelters. That's not including the expenses of multiple shelter programs under other agencies. Prevention programs for those at-risk of homelessness, moving families very quickly to permanent housing and providing the numerous other pathways to stable housing the platform advocates is the right thing to do, but it isn't cheap. Reducing DHS's shelter costs could pay for most of it.

The only way to truly know the group’s roadmap would work in the real world is, of course, to try it. [Read More.]

This is an excerpt of an Op-Ed originally published in the Gotham Gazette. Follow Care for the Homeless on Twitter @CFHNYC and Facebook for all our latest "Must Reads."