Last Thursday, the Coalition for the Homeless joined over 20,000 service providers, union members, community activists, and New Yorkers from all walks of life for a peaceful march on Wall Street. Our goal? To protest Mayor Bloomberg's continual cuts to New York City's most vulnerable and to demand that big banks and millionaires start paying their fair share.
Just last week, Mayor Bloomberg released his final budget proposal and it includes millions in cuts to life-saving services, including shelters for homeless youth, case management for formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS, and an elimination of all housing assistance for homeless New Yorkers.
At the same time, corporate profits exploded last year to near record levels. Despite Mayor Bloomberg's continual shifting of blame, he has a choice. He can ask Wall Street bankers to contribute their fair share to fixing New York City, rather than enacting devastating cuts to working families.
One homeless family attended the rally, with their son in a stroller, and their belongings in tow.
"I'm out here because we have no home," said Kassandra Ward.... She lost her job and home as a result of the recession, and was worried that the mayor's budget would make her situation worse. "The city and the banks, they're taking our money... they're not doing anything."
Under Mayor Bloomberg's budget, families like Kassandra's are left with no real help to get back on their feet. Even after the rally on May 12, the Coalition for the Homeless will continue to fight for restoration of vital services for homeless individuals, youth, and families. And perhaps most importantly, we will continue to urge the Mayor to use existing federal resources, such as public housing and Section 8, to help move homeless families into permanent housing. It is the best way to address the record homelessness crisis the City is now facing.
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