I usually approach the New York Society for Ethical Culture, where I serve as clergy leader, from Central Park West and look across the street from the park at the words carved into stone on the corner of our meeting house: “Dedicated to the ever-increasing knowledge and practice and love of the right.”
Today “the right” is used to identify a socially conservative political stance, but in 1910, when these words were inscribed, it referred to ethics and a community determined to do the right thing in challenging times. Since founding the Society in 1876, members have sought ways to make the world a better place for everyone, beginning with improving living conditions in tenement housing and forming settlement houses that built affordable housing.
What is our city coming to? Or more accurately, what has the world’s greatest city become? Does New York still deserve such a title in the face of what has been called an “epidemic of the working hungry”?
Just in time for the holidays, a new report by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger leaves no doubt that our city is great for some — but not so much for the majority of its people.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has stopped waiting for the state to take the first step, and has started taking responsibility for his city’s needs, particularly on the homeless crisis.
His announcement that the city would create 15,000 units of supportive housing in the next 15 years was a bold move — one that could help thousands of homeless New Yorkers who need places to live and services like counseling, job training and health care. The mayor is putting in $1 billion of city money, plus $1.6 billion of private funding, to cover the costs.