25th Anniversary ARTWALK NY Honoring Katherine Bernhardt and Michael Platt Raises Nearly $750,000 for Coalition Programs and Services!

Painting created by Katherine Bernhardt for the Coalition for the Homeless

The 25th Anniversary ARTWALK NY, held at Spring Studios on November 18th, was a huge success! More than 750 guests enjoyed the beautiful celebration of art, activism, and the life-saving work of the Coalition for the Homeless. Title sponsor Max Mara, Artist Honoree Katherine Bernhardt, Philanthropic Honoree Michael Platt and Special Guest Debi Mazar truly made this the most memorable event of the year!

Artist Honoree Katherine Bernhardt with CFH Executive Director Dave Giffen // Neil Rasmus/BFA
Artist Honoree Katherine Bernhardt with CFH Executive Director Dave Giffen // Neil Rasmus/BFA
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

A special thank-you to all of our sponsors who made the event possible, including Artsy, Crozier Fine Arts, Prospect, Chelsea Frames and Spring Studios. The wonderful food sponsorships provided by Claudette, Colonia Verde, Indochine, Cafe Luxembourg, Wild Ink, Jay’s Brooklyn, Cafeteria and Houseman really brought the event to a whole other level, as did the beverages provided by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin, Milagro Tequila, Flor de Cana Rum and Anheuser-Busch. And of course thank you to all of the generous artists who contributed their breathtaking works, to our wonderful sponsors, and to our amazing sponsors, and to our Art Advisory Board and ARTWALK Benefit Committee for the tireless work to put on this wonderful event.

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by ArtwalkNY (@artwalkny) on

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s ARTWALK, you can still make a difference in the lives of homeless New Yorkers. Tonight more than 62,000 people, including 22,000 kids, will sleep in NYC shelters, while thousands more bed down on our streets. Your support helps the Coalition provide emergency food and clothing, eviction prevention, crisis services, permanent housing, job training and special programs for kids to thousands of homeless New Yorkers every day.

DONATE

Coalition and Client Advisory Group Members Testify on Food Access, Quality, and Inspections at DHS Shelters

On Thursday, November 21, the New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare held an oversight hearing on “Food Access, Quality, and Inspections at Department of Homeless Services Shelters.” The hearing was held in response to disturbing reports that residents of an adult family shelter became ill after they were served expired chicken salad in October.

A collage of photos of spoiled or unappetizing food served at shelters

Although DHS representatives assured Council Members at the hearing that the food in shelters is safe, nutritious, and of adequate quality, the public testimony from several current and former shelter residents told a different story. Six members of the Coalition’s Client Advisory Group (CAG) presented compelling testimony about their challenges accessing quality food in DHS shelters, and several more submitted written testimony to the Council. They spoke vividly about their firsthand experiences dealing with inadequate portion sizes, difficulties securing food accommodations for religious or medical reasons, and overall unappetizing and reportedly spoiled food.

CAG member Felix Guzman summarized the importance of access to better food by asking, “If we don’t have a healthy meal, how are we to handle the trauma of homelessness?”

The hearing was covered by several media outlets. Tyler Blint-Welsh quoted CAG member Sharifah Harvey in an article for The Wall Street Journal:

Sharifah Harvey, who said she was denied acceptable meals during Ramadan while a resident at the Franklin Women’s Shelter in the Bronx, said the shelter lacked adequate cooking facilities. Two of the three microwave ovens at the shelter recently went out of service for over a month, she said. The shelter serves about 100 people.

“When I have to use the microwave for soup, then it’s going to be a wait if I’m not getting down there at the right time,” Ms. Harvey said.

Julia Marsh also included quotes from CAG members in a New York Post article:

Janet Perry, 61, said she was served “green eggs” from a supplier called Comfort Foods at the Franklin Women’s shelter in the Bronx.

And Cece Brown, who’s been in numerous shelters, said “the milk is going bad or is sour,” the bread is moldy, and “mice are seen in the kitchen area running around.”

Coalition for the Homeless and The Legal Aid Society also presented joint testimony at the hearing, which included a sample of reports Coalition shelter monitors have sent to DHS regarding food issues we have observed and complaints we received from shelter residents. The testimony called on City and State agencies to improve food access and quality across the shelter system:

As of September 2019, single adults spent an average of 425 days in shelters, families with children spent an average of 428 days in shelters, and adult families spent an average of 613 days in shelters. The length of time that individuals and families spend living in the shelter system underscores the need to provide appropriate, healthy, and appetizing meals to the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Food is a basic human necessity, and the quality of food in shelters does not appropriately meet the needs of the 62,000 New Yorkers who often have no other options for sustenance. Our first-hand observations and the information we collect from homeless New Yorkers highlight the inadequate oversight of food provision in shelters. Multiple State and City agencies with inspection authority have failed to ensure the food served in shelters is safe to consume and meets the needs of shelter residents.

We recommend DHS implement a complete overhaul of food provision, including assessing the quality of its contracted food vendors, conducting routine inspections, and providing appropriate accommodations to individuals who have dietary restrictions due to medical conditions, religious observance, or other special needs. We also recommend that the City and State agencies with oversight authority immediately implement routine inspections of food provision at shelters. These agencies include the City’s Department of Homeless Services and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the State’s Department of Health and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

An attachment to the testimony includes photographs of food and excerpts from interviews the Coalition conducted with shelter residents about food accommodations, portions, and quality. The full testimony can be read here.

New York City Homeless-Shelter Residents Bash Food

Homeless shelters across New York City are serving substandard food, a half-dozen shelter residents said Thursday at a City Council hearing.

The residents, who have lived in various shelters, compared the food to slop. Some said they were served moldy cartons of orange juice and ice-cold french toast. One resident recalled shelter staff laughing at her when she requested a halal or kosher meal during Ramadan even though the city’s Department of Homeless Services guarantees religious accommodation for meals.

More »