Tell City Hall: Keep Your Promise to 2,600 Vulnerable Families!

Please join in our campaign to urge the Bloomberg administration to help the 2,600 needy families whose housing vouchers were revoked by the City six months ago.

Mary Brosnahan, the Coaliton’s executive director, sent the following message to our supporters:

Six months ago, in an unprecedented move, the Bloomberg administration revoked 2,600 federal housing vouchers they had previously issued to low-income families across the city. Already, 27 of these families have had to return to homeless shelters — a number that will only increase as time goes on.

Please sign the online letter and call on New York City to prevent 2,600 more families from being forced back into shelter.

Take Marissa and her two daughters. In May, they became homeless again after the City cancelled their voucher. Since then, they’ve been living out of suitcases — temporarily sharing one bedroom of her sister’s apartment.

Last week, Marissa told WCBS’s Marcia Kramer that she prayed every day to stay out of shelter: “I don’t want to go back there. If that’s one place I can avoid, I will avoid it for the rest of my life.” After the story ran, the City offered Marissa rental assistance. But for most families, the nightmare continues.

The Bloomberg administration says they simply can’t afford to rehouse these families, but it just isn’t true. According to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, reinstating rental assistance would cost just $25 million a year — compared to the $47 to $77 million price tag of housing these families in homeless shelters.

The fact is the Bloomberg administration has options to get these families back into affordable housing: (1) they can use federal stimulus dollars to give short-term assistance until next year’s batch of federal housing vouchers; and (2) they can move families who have already lost their homes — like Marissa’s — to the top of the list for available public housing.

Take action today, and sign the letter asking the City to implement these common sense solutions. Go here.

Thanks for everything you do to support the neediest New Yorkers. Together we can win this fight and prevent more families from becoming homeless.


Mary Brosnahan
Executive Director

PS – Watch Marissa’s story on WCBS News with Marcia Kramer here.

Homeless Teen Graduates High School Despite Obstacles in Place by City

Back in February, we shared the story of Rosa Bracero, a homeless teen who was forced to miss her English Regent’s exam because her family was applying for shelter after being evicted from their home. The Department of Homeless Services’ inflexible policies did not allow any member of the family to leave during the all-day application process. As a result, Rosa missed her exam, which was necessary in order for her to graduate high school. She tried to make up the test a few days later, but the State refused to grade it, since it had not been taken on the scheduled day.

Rosa’s situation –unable to graduate because she was homeless– sparked city-wide outrage and the Coalition launched a campaign to change the City’s misguided policies. Over 800 outraged New Yorkers sent letters to Mayor Bloomberg urging that he change this unfair policy. As a result of Rosa’s unfortunate experience, the City and State came together to make changes to these harmful rules. Children will now be allowed to leave the shelter application process for statewide exams. Although many reforms are still needed, this marks a step forward in the fight to treat homeless children with the dignity and respect they deserve, and to allow them the same opportunities afforded every other child in New York City.

Today, we heard about Rosa Bracero again and this time the news was good. She passed her English Regents exam and is on schedule to get her diploma next week. In the meantime, she has been taking classes at Lincoln Technical Institute, she has applied to several after-school jobs, and is looking forward to becoming an automotive technician.

On behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless, we would like to congratulate Rosa for her hard work and wish her luck in her future endeavors! And to everyone who supported Rosa by sending a letter to the Mayor — Thank you for your great advocacy efforts! Together we can work to change ineffective homeless policies for the better and give all homeless children the opportunities they deserve!

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