Two weeks from tonight, New York City will embark on its annual HOPE effort where volunteers will engage a small number of those living on the street. For four days afterward the city will conduct the Youth Count, a tally of homeless youth primarily conducted through post-HOPE surveys of a limited number of youth-serving organizations.
The number of street-homeless youth found during the one-night HOPE effort and post-HOPE surveys will generate a “baseline” estimate used by federal officials to judge progress in the federal goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. This number will also, most likely, be used as the official number of street-homeless youth in New York City for years to come.
The stakes of a single tally of the city’s homeless youth have never been higher.
It can’t be said enough that New York’s homelessness crisis is complicated. In a city where people are squeezed beyond their means by rising rents, just one of any number of additional stresses — a lost job, sickness, addiction, domestic violence — can propel a family into the shelter system or the street.
The problem won’t be solved by flooding the city with shelter beds, though more are needed. It certainly won’t be solved by blocking City Hall’s shelter plans, as New Yorkers in neighborhoods like Maspeth, Queens, have stridently done, demanding that these families go suffer someplace else. Protesters seem to think that poor people can be harangued into making the rent.
Homeless people are being housed in sub-human, unsafe conditions at hotels and other shelters, a new report by Albany pols found.
The report, “Horrors in Homeless Housing,” found that well over half of the hotels in the city hosting the homeless have hundreds of open violations for unsafe conditions, like improper fire escapes, lead paint, crumbling walls and broken toilets.
Nearly all so-called cluster sites — costly apartments rented by the city for the homeless — had violations for gross conditions like rodent and roach infestations, mold and failure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.