Formed nearly two decades ago, the Coalition for the Homeless’ Client Advisory Group (CAG) helps organize New Yorkers living in NYC shelters. CAG is a multifaceted mutual support and activism group that engages in advocacy, education, empowerment, and socialization. The Monitor is written by homeless and formerly homeless members of CAG.
Each CAG meeting is facilitated by a Coalition Shelter Specialist, who leads the group in discussions about topics relevant to the members’ needs, such as Department of Homeless Services policies and procedures, voting rights, and ways to cope with the trauma of being homeless.
The group reviews issues they have experienced in the shelters. As the court- and City Hall-appointed independent monitor of the City’s shelter system, the Coalition is responsible for making sure shelters are responsive to residents’ needs. Shelter Specialists help residents advocate for themselves and empower them with information and education.
The roundtable style of the weekly meetings gives CAG members the chance to share how they have dealt with similar situations in their shelters, helping to give each member a valuable sense of belonging and purpose.
Outside of the meetings, CAG plays a central role in the Coalition’s advocacy efforts. In addition to informing other residents about their rights, CAG members join the Coalition at news conferences, rallies, and marches – even traveling to Albany to challenge government and social policies.
CAG launched its newsletter for shelter residents, The Monitor, in June of 2018.
CAG meets 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday at the Coalition’s office: 129 Fulton Street in lower Manhattan. Dinner and MetroCards are provided. All are welcome! No one will be admitted after 5:30 p.m.!