Tuesday, January 5, 2010 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Dangers of Insufficient Shelter Capacity

Last week, WPIX and Newsday reported that Long Island's shelter system is running out of capacity in response to the growing demand for shelter this winter. In an alarming reminder of the serious risks of running out of shelter for homeless individuals, just a few days earlier it was reported that a homeless man in New Cassel died from exposure to the cold. This is the serious danger that homeless individuals face every winter night.

In fact, both Nassau and Suffolk counties have seemingly already run out of shelter beds.

"In Suffolk County, 367 families are homeless but there is room for only 295. In Nassau, there are some 220 single homeless adults and only 75 beds."

Other records indicate that there are 550 homeless individuals in Nassau County when families and children are included. Furthermore, these figures only include those who have sought help this year, leaving many others uncounted.

The man who died on December 21st in New Cassel was 56 years old and apparently had been homeless for some time.

Unfortunately, Long Island is not protected in the same way as New York City with a legal right to shelter for homeless individuals. Nevertheless, the government must find some immediate solution for those that are without shelter or they risk putting more of their own residents at risk of death from the harsh winter weather.

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