As New York Daily News columnist Albor Ruiz writes in a powerful new column, “the figures don’t lie…. New York City is facing a homelessness crisis of record-breaking proportions.”
There is no two ways around it: Mayor Bloomberg’s homeless policy has been a resounding failure.
To the city’s great shame, child homelessness is up 22% from this time last year and up 61% since Bloomberg first took office, according to the latest State of the Homeless report put out by the Coalition for the Homeless.
In fact, New York City is facing a homelessness crisis of record-breaking proportions.
According to the Coalition, as of this past January, 12,000 families, with more than 21,000 children, were sleeping each night in city shelters. Families, the Coalition said, comprise nearly 3/4 of the homeless shelter population.
As Ruiz notes, advocates and homeless service providers are responding to the worsening homelessness crisis – and so are NYC kids and students:
So critical is the situation that students across the city are working together to get 20,000 signatures on a petition to demand Bloomberg finally does something about this critical homeless situation. More than 3,000 New Yorkers have signed the petition being circulated by the “20K Kids campaign: 20,000 NYC Students for 20,000 Homeless Kids.”
“I am involved because this is a good cause. Everyone should get the same opportunities, it is unfair that 20,000 kids don’t have a home,” said a passionate Rebecca Burke, a sixth-grader who, at 11, is very active in the campaign. “We have 68 ‘student ambassadors’ collecting signatures in 44 schools across the city.”
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Under the name United to End Homelessness, more than 100 advocates, homeless and formerly homeless individuals, service providers, faith leaders, and experts on the issue in the city, launched a coalition eight days ago. Their mission, they say, is “to highlight New York City’s homelessness crisis during the 2013 mayoral election.”
“United to End Homeless has come together to address the homelessness crisis,” said Christy Parque, executive director, Homeless Services United, and a member of the coalition coordinating committee. “This crisis is untenable, and must be solved and we know how to do it.”
The coalition, Parque said, is “New York City and the next Mayor’s dream team to help them tackle this problem with permanent solutions and smart, cost effective policies.” Lack of affordable housing is at the root of the crisis, Parque said.
“We will keep pushing to find permanent housing solutions,” she added. “We don’t want a revolving door.”