Democracy Now! aired an in-depth report yesterday on record homelessness and the plight that many former Advantage families are now facing. Watch it here.
Among the families with whom reporter Chantal Bergman spoke was Katrice Bryson and her young daughter. Katrice is a working mom who doesn’t make enough to cover her rent in full and is facing eviction from her Advantage apartment:
I’ve been trying to look for another job, maybe on top of the job that I have, to try to see if I can work two jobs. It’s been very stressful, because, you know, trying to figure out what’s more important, like making sure that I have food in the refrigerator, making sure that I have lights on, you know. And then I do see homeless people out here in the streets, and I think to myself, I wonder, you know, I hope that’s not going to be me and my daughter in the next month or so, you know, being out on the streets, because of the fact, you know, I tried my best. I work. You know, it’s not like I don’t work. And I try to do what I have to do for me and my daughter, but it’s not enough.
The piece covers the scope of the Bloomberg administrations failure to address homelessness and cites the City’s decision to cut off homeless families from receiving federal housing assistance. The Coaliton’s Patrick Markee sums it up:
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We are now facing a situation where Mayor Bloomberg has refused, for years now, to utilize federal housing programs, which we know work to reduce homelessness, which worked under previous New York City mayors…. They refuse to see that this is not a problem of behavior, of people making bad choices, all of these things. It’s a problem of a widening gap between rents and incomes, where working-class and low-income people are simply being priced out of the housing market, and a situation where we know government has solutions to this problem. If you provide affordable housing assistance to help homeless kids and families escape shelter, they will stay out of shelter.