Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CFH Executive Director Bobby Watts Responds to Police Homeless Photos on Pix11

Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts was featured last night on Pix11 news to talk about an initiative by the Sergeant Benevolent Association to photograph homeless New Yorkers on the street. The officers are posting their pictures to an online Flicker photo album in an attempt to expose a supposed “decrease in quality of life in NYC” but what these pictures really highlight are the difficulties of life on the street. Whatever the politics of the initiative, we know that it’s crucial to find real fixes for the problems of people experiencing homelessness. 

“I don’t take a position on the letter or motivation. I really focus on results,” Bobby Watts, executive director of Care for the Homeless, told PIX11 News. “To the extent that more people are aware of homelessness and are determined to find solutions, that can be helpful.”

If you see someone in need of services on the street, call 3-1-1 to alert city homeless outreach teams.



CFH Executive Director Bobby Watts responding to initiative to photograph homeless New Yorkers on Pix11 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Start the Summer with Celebration and Health Care Success: June 22nd




Spend the start of summer celebrating the successes of New Yorkers who have experienced homelessness at the second annual Summer Solstice Success Celebration on June 22nd! This year’s program will recognize the health care success of currently and formerly homelessness New Yorkers with presentation of awards to celebrate their achievements, live entertainment and a meal.

During the program add your own health care success story to our 'Wall of Health Care Success" art display.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP click the link here.

We hope to see you there!

Date: Monday, June 22nd at 4:30 p.m.
Location: Red Oaks Apts., 135 W. 106th St., Manhattan (between Amsterdam & Columbus Ave.)
Subway: 1, C or B to 103rd Street

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Join Us on Mon, June 22nd for 2nd Annual Summer Solstice Success Celebration!

Join Care for the Homeless and our Client Leaders on Monday, June 22nd at 4:30 p.m. in celebrating the health care successes of homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers. The 2nd Annual CFH Summer Solstice Success Celebration will feature live entertainment, fun and the opportunity to recognize the successes of our clients and thank the providers who delivery high quality, client centered services every day.

“So often people focus on the bad news coming out of the shelter system,” said David Broxton, a formerly homeless cancer survivor and Care for the Homeless client. “We want to put the focus on the successes of New Yorkers who have experienced homelessness - people do get back on their feet with the right services available to them.”
 
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the dining room and gardens at Red Oak Apartments, 135 W. 106th Street in Manhattan, on Monday, June 22, at 4:30 p.m. In addition to celebrating health care stories of success, the group will also announce the winner of their Second Annual Stories of Success writing contest, and the winning short story will be read by the winning author. The program will also feature a full dinner, musical entertainment and a “Wall of Success” exhibition inviting anyone in attendance to contribute their own story of health care success.

Volunteer serving up appetizers at the 2014 Summer Solstice Success Celebration

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Care for the Homeless Joins 30,000 Walkers at AIDS Walk NYC


Over 30,000 walkers participated in this past Sunday’s AIDS Walk NYC, including 11 Care for the Homeless staff and client leaders. The 30th anniversary of the event honored Governor Cuomo for his ‘Bend the Curve’ Plan, the governor’s plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York in by reducing new cases to 750 by 2020. The governor’s three point plan includes identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to care, retaining people living with HIV with health care services and anti-HIV therapy and providing access to PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to high-risk individuals to help them remain HIV negative.

The annual walk raised record funds for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis as well as over 40 other AIDS services organization in the tri-state area whose services are key to helping bend the curve of new HIV cases in New York. 

 
Care for the Homeless has been on the frontline of the crisis for many years, providing critically needed HIV/AIDS services such as diagnosis and treatment for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and advocating for policies to increase the housing stability for HIV positive and all vulnerable New Yorkers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Care for the Homeless takes to the Hill at NHCHC Conference in D.C.



Left from bottom, Client Leader Gayle Dorsky, Staff members
Dominiq Williams and Kim Dalve and Client Leader David Broxton at the Capitol
During last week’s National Health Care for the Homeless Conference in Washington D.C. Care for the Homeless’ clients and staff took to the Hill to advocate for the programs and policies that we know can help end homelessness. Throughout the three day conference a Care for the Homeless team made up of Client Leaders David Broxton and Gayle Dorsky and staff members Kim Dalve and Dominiq Williams visited with congressional representatives from all over New York State.

“Even small cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are really hurting people who rely on them.” Gayle told NY representatives. “Like many New Yorkers, I’ve had to go to food pantries more, but I have friends who don’t have the time to go to food pantries or get turned away from pantries that have limited resources.”
In addition to advocating for programs like SNAP, the CFH group spoke about the importance of reinstating the National Housing Trust Fund’s pre-recession commitment to use a small percent for low income housing programs, increasing funding for Section 8 and for an amendment to the Federal Tort Claim Act to provide malpractice insurance for volunteer medical practitioners. “Adding this coverage will provide the federal government with volunteer hours in its’ federally qualified health centers, like the clinics that Care for the Homeless operates.” CFH Program Analyst Kim Dalve pointed out to law-makers.
But the overall message was best conveyed by Client Leader David Broxton, who made the point at every office he visited that increasing support and funding programs for low-income Americans and Americans experiencing homelessness is necessary and always worthwhile. “A lot of times you hear in the newspaper, ‘A homeless person did this or that’, Broxton said, “People are so focused on the negative sometimes that they don’t see what’s in front of them- that people who receive assistance from these programs need that help and are using those resources to get back on their feet.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Care for the Homeless Graduates Second Class of “Certified Advocates”

Last night Care for the Homeless celebrated the graduation of its second class of “CFH Certified Advocates”, adding new members to the Care for the Homeless Speakers’ Bureau. The program is open to volunteer client leaders who have been or are homeless and are consumers of Care for the Homeless health care or other services.

Those recognized as graduating included Patricia Gale, George Phipps, Monica Sayers, Brenda Turner and Raymond West. Previous graduates who introduced the new graduates or spoke at the graduation included Calvin Alston, David Broxton, Ava Conner, Gayle Dorsky, Garrett McMahan and Anthony Williams.

In order to graduate participants must completed 12 hours of training, half in homeless policy issue training and half in public speaking training. At the graduation each new Certified Advocate told their personal story, hooked that story to a public policy issue and advocated for better public policy on that issue.

Certified Advocates become members of the Care for the Homeless Speakers’ Bureau. The Speakers’ Bureau is available to make presentations to schools, community groups, religious congregations or other organizations. Groups can receive information about the Speakers’ Bureau, or request appearances, by contacting policy@cfhnyc.org.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NYC Considering Better Homeless Policy and Programs

by Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

The New York City budget process moves along with continuing signs of improving homeless policy in the Big Apple. Since the De Blasio administration and Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor came to office 15 ½ months ago New York City has gone from no real tools to important programs designed to fight and prevent homelessness in the city. For example there was absolutely no subsidy or direct housing program to transition people from shelter to permanent housing in December, 2013. Today, with support of both the city administration and the City Council, there are 6 LINC (living in the Community) subsidy programs designed to subsidize that transition for over 5,000 households annually, and a targeted priority to move 750 families (the city actually exceeded that goal this fiscal year) into NYCHA public housing units that become available each year.

Now the City Council has released its response to the Mayor’s preliminary budget submission with suggestions for even better policies. Council’s requests include another 100 additional shelter beds for unaccompanied Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY), increasing the number of NYCHA units targeted to households in shelter from 750 to 2,500 annually and adding a $1 million appropriation for emergency housing for disabled veterans at risk of homelessness in New York City.

The Council also wants to add $14.7 million in funding to the Emergency Food Assistance Program to aid city food banks which have been struggling to meet demands since sequestration cut SNAP (food stamp) assistance in 2013, and to create a $9.7 million fund for HIV prevention, viral suppression and HIV support programs.


Council also wants to create a program to provide legal representation to tenants in housing court and if they can to provide lawyers to consumers without representation in most civil court matters. They also want to reform the city’s bail and summons procedures so that so many poor New Yorkers don’t sit in jail or lose days for minor matters they haven’t been convicted of. In fact, they are studying decriminalization of minor offenses like violations of the open container ban on alcohol, turnstile jumping and other minor offenses that would then become a civil summons rather than a criminal record. These matters account for far more than half of all criminal summonses issued annually by NYPD, and can avoid criminal records for many New Yorkers while avoiding millions in police and court costs.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Care for The Homeless Sponsors NYC Homeless Policy Forum 2015 Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 8th, Care for the Homeless and Baruch College is sponsoring “New York Homeless Policy Forum 2015”, a  major policy symposium and public education event aimed at bringing people interested in homeless policy together to focus on how to produce better outcomes in New York’s homeless policy operation, do so more efficiently and move the city toward ending homelessness as we know it. The program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., features top policy makers including New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilman Corey Johnson. All the schedule details are listed below.

Follow live tweeting from the Forum at #homelesspolicyNYC  


Jointly Sponsored by Baruch College’s Narendra Paul Loomba 
School of Management and Care for the Homeless

Wednesday, April 8, at Baruch College, Newman Library, 
Room 750, 151 East 25th Street (bet. Lexington and 3rd Ave.)

9-9:25 a.m.- Registration, Coffee and Networking         
9:25-9:30 a.m.-Welcome: Jeff Foreman, J.D., MGA, MS.Ed., MA, Policy Director, Care for the Homeless
9:30-9:40 a.m.-Presentation: Homeless Issues in New York City, Where We Stand? – Dr. John Goering, Professor, Baruch College
 9:40-10:40 a.m. - Scope, Scale and Overview of Homeless Issues in NYCThis panel serves as a New York City homeless policy and explores current trends and challenges. Includes analysis of how many people are homeless or at risk in New York City, the context of the current crisis, new and emerging city homelessness policy, NYC’s “right to shelter”, unique issues of homeless in NYC and what we’re doing right and wrong.

Topics/Goals:
o   Numbers and trends of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness
o   Why is homelessness growing in New York City as it appears to decline nationally?
o   What have we done right and wrong in New York City?
o   What is implication of right to shelter, what issues does it raise? What are current legal issues?
o   Discussion of homelessness feeder systems: (corrections, foster care, domestic abuse, etc.).
o   What needs to happen to end homelessness as we know it?
o   This panel will provide context for the day’s forum and discussions
·         Presentation: Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, New York City Department of Homeless Services (10 minutes)
o   Panel Moderator: Patrick Markee, Deputy Executive Director, Coalition for the Homeless
§  Joshua Goldfein, JD, Attorney, The Legal Aid Society/Homeless Rights Project
§  Letitia James, JD, Public Advocate for the City of New York
§  Gilbert Taylor, JD, Commissioner, NYC Department of Homeless Services
                                              
                                                                           10 min break

Break Out Panel Sessions (1st Break Out Round) 10:50-11:50 a.m.

10:50-11:50 a.m.-Panel: Stigmatization, Criminalization and Attacks On Homeless People. Panel will explore how and why we stigmatize homeless people; how the everyday activities of poor people and people experiencing homelessness are effected by stigmatization, societal attitudes towards poor and marginalized peoples, NIMBY attitudes towards shelters and other service locations for low-income New Yorkers and how societal attitudes contribute to an increase in “criminalization” of homelessness and poverty as well as attacks against homeless people. (Break Out Session 1, in Break Out Room #1)
Topics/Goals:
o   Two views of poverty – a personal failing or a societal responsibility
o   How daily activities of living without stable housing or in deep poverty are criminalized; “criminalizing” necessities of living or aid to people experiencing homelessness, unequal application of law, implication of ‘broken glass’ policing, targeting/hiding poor people from public view
o   Atmosphere of prejudice and stigma  against those perceived to be low-income and homeless
o   How societal attitude towards homeless people leads to psychological and physical brutality
o   What we can do to stop stigma, discrimination, criminalization and attacks on homeless people
o   Take Away: how stigmatization impacts poverty and homelessness and how we can ameliorate it
§  Moderator: Marc Greenberg, ED, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
§  Nicole Bramstedt, Policy Analyst, Urban Pathways
§  Lucinda Lewis, Picture the Homeless member, Housing Campaign Leader
§  Connor Hocks, Client Leader at Care for the Homeless and Ali Forney Center

10:50-11:50 a.m. – Panel: Children/Youth Homelessness in New York City. Panel will examine social and economic causes and impacts of dramatic increase in children in shelters and unaccompanied homeless youth, and resources available and required to ameliorate this crisis. (Break Out Session 2, In Main Conference Room, Room 750)

Topic/Goals:
o   Causes, issues & resources for children in shelter and unaccompanied homeless youth on the streets
o   The experience and impact of growing up without stable housing
o   What we’re doing right and what needs to be done better
o   What can be done to prevent or child and youth homelessness
o   Take away: How we can better serve children living in family shelters and youth living on the streets; how can we  prevent and end child homelessness
§  Moderator: Lizanne Fontaine, RN, JD, Director of Health Services, Care for the Homeless
§  Jack Bethke, MSW, Director of Drop In Programs, Ali Forney Center
§  Bonnie Stone, President and CEO, WIN
§  Clare Stone, MPH, CPH, Grants and Planning Administrator, NY Children’s Health Project
                                                                                                   
Lunch: 11:50 a.m-12:50 p.m. 

11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Lunch, buffet style, served in room adjoining conference room, to be eaten at tables in conference room (buffet will remain open); if conference room is at capacity, can be eaten in the adjoining room
12:10 -12:15 p.m. – Carmine Asparro, Chairman, Care for the Homeless Board of Directors, Welcome, Brief remarks, Introduction of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito:
12:15-12:45 p.m.  - Featured Speaker: New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, MPA (The Speaker will deliver remarks and take questions; she will be assisted in Q-and-A by Dr. Rogoff)
12:45-12:50p.m. Thank you and Concluding Remarks: Dr. Edward G. Rogoff, Professor and Department Chair, Narendra Paul Loomba Department of Management, Baruch College
5 minute break

Break Out Panel Sessions (2nd round) 12:55-1:55 p.m.

12:55-1:55 p.m.- Panel: Reimagining Living in and Operating Shelters: Suggestions for Better Outcomes. Former and current NYC shelter residents and shelter providers discuss making the system more effective, producing better outcomes and increasing the dignity afforded clients in the system. (Break Out Session 1; In Break Out Room #1)
o   Problems to solve in the system: issues of dignity and respect for homeless clients,
o   What services and resources are needed to produce better outcomes
o   How to make the system more productive and reduce unnecessary burdens on clients in shelter
o   Suggestions regarding assessment, programming, management, human resources  and more
o   Take-away: How to move to a client-centered shelter system focused on better outcomes.
§  Moderator: Chris Parque, MSW, ED, Homeless Services United
§  Selestina Martinez, Parent Organizer, Child Welfare Organizing Project
§  Philip Malebranche, CFH Client leader
§  Tata Traore-Rogers, CEO, Turning Point
§  Dale Williams, ED, Midnight Run

12:55-1:55 p.m.- Panel: Homelessness and Health Care: Public Health Issues and Impacts on People Experiencing Homelessness. This panel will address homelessness as a public health issue, its impact on city health resources and health impacts of homelessness on children and adults experiencing it. Panelists will discuss what’s being done and what systems and resources are needed to best address health care access and provision of health services for homeless people, how to get better outcomes and how to deliver care most efficiently. (Break Out Session 2; In Main Conference Room, Room 750)

Topics/Goals:
o   Is homelessness a public health issue?
o   How to best facilitate supplying best services and outcomes? What are provider issues?
o   What are the impacts and costs of homelessness on children and adults?
o   Is health care for the homeless a medical specialty?
o   What has the city done right and wrong? What needs to be done?
o   Take-away: Impact of health care issues, what are best practices, what works and what doesn’t
§  Moderator: Debbian Fletcher-Blake, FNP, Ass’t. Executive Director, Care for the Homeless
§  Dr. Neil Calman, M.D., President and CEO, Institute for Family Health
§  Aaron Felder, Assistant VP for Special Populations, Lutheran Family Services
§  City Councilman Corey Johnson, Chair, City Council Health Committee
§  John Lozier, MSSW, ED, National Health Care for the Homeless Council

                                         10 min break

2:05-3:05 p.m.-Panel: Extremely-Low-Income Housing Market- Availability for New Yorkers Living Below Poverty. Panel explores current availability of housing units for extremely-low income and below poverty New Yorkers including people with subsidized vouchers, trends in very-low income housing and what needs to be done to provide stable housing for people experiencing homelessness. 

Topics/Goals:
o   Impact of rent control and stabilization, Supportive Housing, Section 8, city subsidy programs, NYCHA and other public housing resources
o   Changing housing stock: Disappearance of SRO and other affordable housing, trends in housing for extremely-low income New Yorkers and people living in deep poverty
o   How Mayor’s Affordable Housing Plan and inclusionary zoning will affect low income New Yorkers
o   Current issues: City’s LINC program; New York/New York 4; tax abatement issues and more
o   What are solutions and needed improvements in housing for extremely-low income New Yorkers
Moderator: Nicole Branca, Deputy Executive Director, Supportive Housing Network of New York
§  Daniel Farrell, LCSW, Vice President, HELP USA
§  Tom Waters, Senior Housing Policy Analyst, Community Service Society of NY
§  Jessica Yager, Policy Director, NYU Furman Center
3:05- 3:25 p.m. - Conclusion and Final Remarks: Bobby Watts, MPH, MS, Executive Director, Care for the Homeless, Can We End Modern Day Homelessness in New York City?

While at the Forum, please visit our information/sign up tables in the lobby by the registration desk for information about ongoing activities, upcoming events and to sign up for e-mail alerts and newsletters. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Schedule Announced for New York Homeless Policy Forum 2015


New York Homeless Policy Forum 2015
Jointly Sponsored by Baruch College’s Narendra Paul Loomba School of Management and Care for the Homeless, Wednesday, April 8, at Baruch College, Newman Library, Room 750, 151 East 25th Street (bet. Lexington and 3rd Ave.)

9-9:25 a.m.- Registration, Coffee and Networking

9:25-9:30  a.m.-Welcome-Introductions

9:30-9:40 a.m.-Presentation: Homeless Issues in New York City, Where Do We Stand?

9:40-10:40 a.m.- Scope, Scale and Overview of Homeless Issues in NYC
This plenary panel will serve as both an introduction to homeless policy issues in NYC, and explore the challenges. Presentation will include analysis of how many people are homeless or at risk in New York City, the context of the current crisis, NYC’s “right to shelter” and unique issues of homeless in NYC and discussion of what we’re doing right and wrong.

10:50-11:50 a.m.- Panel: Stigmatization, Criminalization and Attacks On Homeless People
Panel will explore how and why we stigmatize homeless people; how the everyday activities of poor people and people experiencing homelessness are effected by stigmatization, societal attitudes towards poor and marginalized peoples, NIMBY attitudes towards shelters and other service locations for low-income New Yorkers and how societal attitudes contribute to an increase in “criminalization” of homelessness and poverty as well as attacks against homeless people.

10:50-11:50 a.m. – Panel: Children/Youth Homelessness in New York City
Panel will examine social and economic causes and impacts of dramatic increase in children in shelters and unaccompanied homeless youth, and resources available and required to ameliorate this crisis.

Lunch
11:50 a.m-12:50 p.m. with Featured Speaker: New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

12:55-1:55 p.m.- Panel: Reimagining Living in and Operating Shelters: Suggestions for Better Outcomes
 Former and current NYC shelter residents and shelter providers will discuss making the system more effective, producing better outcomes and increasing the dignity afforded clients in the system.

12:55-1:55 p.m.- Panel: Homelessness and Health Care: Public Health Issues and Impacts on People Experiencing Homelessness
This panel will address homelessness as a public health issue, its impact on city health resources and health impacts of homelessness on children and adults experiencing it. Panelists will discuss what systems and resources are needed to best address health care access and provision of health services for homeless people, how to get better outcomes and how to deliver care most efficiently.

2:05-3:05 p.m.-Panel: Extremely-Low-Income Housing Market- Availability for New Yorkers Living Below Poverty
 Panel explores current availability of housing units for extremely-low income and below poverty New Yorkers, including availability of units for people with subsidized vouchers, trends in very-low income housing and what needs to be done to provide stable housing for people experiencing homelessness.

3:05- 3:25 p.m. - Conclusion and Final Remarks

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Panels Announced for New York Homeless Policy Forum 2015, Register Today!

The New York Homeless Policy Forum 2015, cosponsored by Care for the Homeless and Baruch College, will feature NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, as well as leading advocates, policy-makers and clients. We are pleased to announce the following program of panels. Register today!


Scope, Scale and Overview of Homelessness in New York City
Serving as an introduction to homelessness in NYC, this presentation will include analysis of how many people are homeless or at risk in New York City, the context of the current crisis, NYC’s “right to shelter” and unique issues of homelessness in NYC.

 Stigmatization, Criminalization and Attacks On Homeless People
This panel will explore how and why we stigmatize homeless people and how the everyday activities of low-income and people experiencing homelessness are effected by stigmatization. Delving into societal attitudes towards poor and marginalized peoples, panelists will discuss how these attitudes contribute to an increase in “criminalization” of homelessness and poverty as well as attacks against the homeless.


Children/Youth Homelessness in New York City
Panelists will examine the social and economic causes of the dramatic rise in child and unaccompanied youth homelessness, focusing on what resources are currently available and what is required to ameliorate the crisis.


Reimagining Living in and Operating Shelters: Suggestions for Better Outcomes
This panel will feature former and current NYC shelter residents and shelter providers to discuss making the system more effective, producing better outcomes and increasing the dignity afforded clients in the system.


 Homelessness, Health Care and Public Health Issues
This panel will address homelessness as a public health issue, its impact on city health resources and health impacts of homelessness on children and adults experiencing it. Panelists will discuss what systems and resources are needed to best address health care access and provision of health services for homeless people, how to get better outcomes and how to deliver care most efficiently.


Extremely-Low-Income Housing Market- Availability for New Yorkers Living Below Poverty
An exploration of the current availability of housing units for extremely-low income New Yorkers and below poverty New Yorkers, including availability of units for people with subsidized vouchers, trends in very-low income housing and a discussion of what resources are needed.




 Register here to attend.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Join Care for the Homeless and Baruch College for the 2015 Homeless Policy Forum!


http://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-homeless-policy-forum-2015-tickets-16020014294?aff=eac2
 
Join Care for the Homeless and Baruch College for the 2015 New York Homeless Policy Forum, a day of panels addressing issues in homeless and housing policy in New York City. Leading advocates, policy-makers, service providers and clients of the shelter system will discuss topics such as issues facing children in the shelter system, experiences of living in the shelter system and the low-income affordable housing market.


Featuring special guest City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor. Have questions? Please email policy@cfhnyc.org

Register here.
 
When?
Wednesday, April 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Where?
Newman Library, Baruch College
Room 750, 151 East 25th Street (bwtn 3rd Ave and Lexington Avenue)
SUBWAY: N, Q, R (23rd Street) or 6 (23rd Street)   
 
 
 Light refreshments and lunch will be served.
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Care for the Homeless a leader in the Fight

To Save Human Service Programs for Homeless and Poor People


Last week Care for the Homeless, and 2.100 other advocacy and provider organizations across the U.S., launched a campaign to fight “sequestration”, the automatic federal funding cuts threatening most human service programs in the coming federal budget. These cuts, set at 8.2% for most domestic discretionary spending, include cuts to health programs, housing assistance, child welfare programs, job training and on and on.

Operating as NDD United (NDD stands for nondefense discretionary) this national effort contacted every U.S. Senator and House of Representatives member emphasizing the critical importance of these human service programs that serve our neediest neighbors, the harmful effects of budget cuts and the need for a strong domestic program as well as defense spending.

The cuts an 8.2% reduction requires would be draconian. It would mean fewer people getting adequate medical care, less mental health care and addiction services availability, more people homeless and even less funding for affordable housing and public housing. Over the long run these cutbacks aren’t just morally wrong, they will actually cost more public resources than they can save.

But if nothing is done to correct it, these across the board cuts of key domestic programs are in the 2016 federal budget. NDD United noted that deficit reduction measures adopted since 2010 have come overwhelmingly from budget cuts, with the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases beyond those recommended by bipartisan groups, academics and experts. The group said “there is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation.” That was at the heart of the 2013 bipartisan agreement led by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray that at least temporarily provided sequestration relief. But that compromise is no longer in effect in the coming budget.     


If you are concerned about cuts to health care, programs for kids, housing for homeless people and other discretionary domestic programs, now is the time to speak up. These budget decisions are currently being discussed in Congress. You can reach your member of the House or Senate (or find out who they are) toll free through the Congressional Switchboard at 1-877-210-5351.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NYC’s Infant Mortality Rate Hits All Time Low “For Most People”

By Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

At Care for the Homeless, New York City’s largest provider of healthcare exclusively to homeless people of all ages, we’re always watching public health statistics and city health policy. So we were pleased to see the city report a new record low infant mortality rate of 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births (for calendar year 2013) – which the city reports is down 24.6% since 2004. New York City’s improved infant mortality rate is well better than the national average, as is New York City’s age average life expectancy both for men and women. Which is great.

But the figures also show a great disparity by race. The mortality rate for black infants is 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, more than two-and-a-half times the rate for white infants. The same kin d of disparities exist by neighborhood with the city’s poorest areas (like East New York at 8.4) having far more troubling infant mortality rates than more affluent areas (like Park Slope at 1.9).

Every year, on about the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, Care for the Homeless and advocates for people experiencing homelessness across North America observe Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in part to recognize the incredible health disparities experienced by unstably housed people. Studies show an age adjusted life expectancy for chronically homeless people of between 30 and 40 years lower than for those stably housed.


We celebrate our city’s overall health improvements measured by metrics like a lower infant mortality rate and an annually growing life expectancy. But like city government, our goal is to spread our improving public health outcomes to all New Yorkers regardless of income, class, geography or condition of housing. That’s why our daily mission in 33 health clinics and our mobile health clinic as well as through our street medical teams is to provide high-quality and client centered health care to any New Yorker without stable housing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

HOPE Street Homeless Count Postponed – But Homelessness Never Is

In the midst of New York City’s blizzard emergency, of course the city’s Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count, scheduled for from about midnight until 4 a.m. on Tuesday, January 27, is postponed. Care for the Homeless and our dozen volunteer staff and client leaders signed up to participate will plan to take part in the reschedule HOPE Count when that takes place.

The HOPE count is part of the national HUD point-in-time count of homelessness in the U.S. In fact, the point in time count originated in New York City in the 1990s and has taken place citywide on one night in January continuously since 1995.  It’s an important research and policy tool that Care for the Homeless supports and takes part in.

In the meantime, the severe weather that challenges us all is another stark reminder of the need to prevent, ameliorate and work to end homelessness. Last year’s HOPE count indicated at least 3,357 homeless people were living unsheltered on the streets or in public places in New York City. That, of course, is in addition to the more than 58,000 people sleeping tonight in Department of Homeless Services shelters (the official DHS shelter census for Thursday, January 22, was 58,655 including 24,944 children – but with the snow and bitter cold it will undoubtedly be higher tonight), and the thousands more in non-DHS shelters.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Care for the Homeless Holds Second Speakers’ Bureau Class Where Clients Learn to “Advocate for Themselves”

Care for the Homeless began the Speakers’ Bureau in September 2013 as a program to help homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers tell their stories and advocate for changes in homeless policy in New York City.  From presentations at universities such as Pratt, John Jay and Mt. Saint Vincent in the Bronx, to elementary school classrooms, to advocacy events and city council hearings, our first class of ‘Certified Advocates’ have told their stories to a wide-variety of New Yorkers, sharing the message that we can end homelessness as we know it.

This past weekend January 17th and 18th saw the second course of Speakers’ Bureau applicants, each a CFH client who has experienced homelessness in New York City,  improve their public speaking and learn about housing policies and advocacy techniques. The program is full of dedicated New Yorkers who want to take a part in calling community leaders to greater action in solving the homeless crisis.

The class was taught by Jeff Foreman, CFH Policy Director and Aaron Brown, a professional public speaking instructor who generously volunteered his time and talents to help bring in the next round of CFH ‘Certified Advocates.’ The speakers went through an intensive 12 hour training to learn how to relate their compelling personal stories to policies to advocate for.

“I’m taking what I learned here back to my community because housing is a human right and I want to let people know that we can end homelessness.” said CFH Client George Phipps. The new applicants will practice their new advocacy skills in an upcoming ‘Certified Advocate’ graduation.

Care for the Homeless’ new ‘Certified Advocates’ include:
                                     George Phipps
                                     Monica Sayers
                                     Brenda Turner
                                     Raymond West
   
Presentations featuring the Certified Advocates are available to interested groups by contacting Jeff Foreman in the Policy Office at 212-366-4459, ext. 206 or via email at policy@cfhnyc.org.




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

61st Anniversary – FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

“the right of every family to a decent home”
by Jeff Foreman, Policy Director at Care for the Homeless

Sunday, January 11, marked the 61st anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s renowned
“Second Bill of Rights” Speech, still remembered and celebrated by social justice advocates and those who work for better policies to fight poverty and homelessness.

It’s interesting to recognize that FDR made his famous rights commitment not during the Depression, but at the height of the Second World War. In his State of the Union address that year the President argued it was time to commit to a new set of standards, a “second bill of rights,” that he referred to as an eight point “economic bill of rights”.

Roosevelt included in his plan to assure equality in the pursuit of happiness an enumerated “right of every family to a decent home.” He also included “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health” as well as rights like adequate food and clothing, employment and education.

Roosevelt spoke to a nation that had dramatically recovered economically from the Depression. He told us despite a higher standard of living we can’t be content “…no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people – whether it be one-third, or one-fifth or one-tenth – is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

Those rights remind us at Care for the Homeless of our own mission to provide health care, services and shelter to New York City’s most vulnerable and our commitment to prevent, fight and end homelessness.

Photo by Nancy Ribeck


Friday, January 9, 2015

Did you know...

On Monday, January 5th, Care for the Homeless got together to discuss Mayor de Blasio’s first year in housing policy. The lively conversation covered the Mayor’s housing plan and recently begun LINC programs that issue rental subsidies to help people move from shelter into housing. Get up to speed on NYC housing policy and join the discussion during Care for the Homeless 1st Monday Policy Briefings! Next discussion will be held Mon., February 2nd, 2015 at 5 pm. Want to attend? Send us an email at policy@cfhnyc.org


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

RIP, Mario Cuomo

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

For New Yorkers who lived through the ’80s and cared about helping people in need, the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo, while not entirely unexpected, was personal.  One of only 5 Empire State Governors who served more than 2 terms in the last 175 years, among them giants of history like Al Smith, Tom Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller, Cuomo loomed large for a generation in the U.S.

The first Governor Cuomo reveled in ideas, words and perhaps ironies. He was a near baseball star who would have traded his political celebrity for baseball stardom. He was thought of as the next-Presidential-hopeful, but couldn't quite convince himself to run. He was famous for a 1984 political convention keynote address he never considered a good speech, that inspires those who hear it today. He died on the day his son, our current governor, was sworn into his second term.

Cuomo’s 1984 speech came at a critical time. It was the Reagan era, well into the process of throwing off a “liberal” political paradigm that dominated policy for generations to adopt a conservative view with a smaller role for government and a less generous social contract. Politics was shifting from fighting poverty and homelessness to cutting spending and stressing personal responsibility.

In that context Cuomo spoke about the needs of vulnerable people, specifically including homeless people, when he responded to President Reagan’s view of the U.S. as “a shining city on a hill.”

“You ought to know that this nation is more a “Tale of Two Cities” Cuomo said, speaking to his time, but sounding so to today.

He spoke of people suffering and said “…the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city’s splendor and glory.” Cuomo said, of another part of shining city “… where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one…in this part of the city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble, more and more people who need help but can’t find it. Even worse: There are elderly people who tremble in the basements of the houses there. And there are people who sleep in the city streets, in the gutter, where glitter doesn't show.” 
     
Speaking to us today from 31 years ago, Mario Cuomo asked us to believe “…a society as blessed as ours, the most affluent democracy in the world’s history…ought to be able to help the middle class in its struggle, ought to be able to find work for all who can do it, room at the table, shelter for the homeless, care for the elderly and infirm, and hope for the destitute.”