Posted on December 31, 2010 by MARY BROSNAHAN Despite record homelessness, there is hope. Your support of the Coalition helped steer the City of New York to adopt sensible, housing-based policies and champion the legal rights of our homeless neighbors. This year’s victories include: Reversing the Shelter “Rent” Policy Last year, the City ordered homeless families to turn over large portions of their meager paychecks – in some cases well over 50 percent – toward the cost of shelter. The Coalition spearheaded a campaign to overturn this misguided policy, which would clearly result in homeless families staying in shelter for longer periods of time by taking away their personal savings needed to achieve permanent housing. Your support forced the Bloomberg administration to reverse its decision. Instead, families will set aside a part of their monthly earnings into a savings account that they can access to leave the shelter system – helping them rebuild their lives more quickly. Increasing Shelter Capacity At this time last year, New York’s shelters became so full that homeless men slept on benches and floors. Elderly women were shuttled after midnight to temporary shelters to sleep for only a few hours before being thrown out, often without transportation back to the intake office. When the City refused to increase capacity, the Coalition took legal action, and triumphed. The City added hundreds of new shelter beds, and abandoned its unlawful practices. Helping Homeless Children Succeed After a homeless teenager, Rosa, was forced to miss her New York State Regents exam due to the arduous shelter application process, the Coalition began a multi-pronged public campaign aimed at changing the City’s application requirements for families. No child should be forced to miss school while their parents apply for emergency shelter, and certainly not the last test needed in order to graduate early. Within days, the State Department of Education agreed not to penalize families whose sons and daughters must attend school during the shelter application procedure. Restoring $88 Million for Homeless and Shelter Services In the midst of record New York City homelessness, Governor Paterson released a State budget proposal that included an $88 million cut to the New York City single adult shelter system. The plan would have forced thousands of homeless people onto the streets. The Coalition partnered with the Bloomberg Administration and elected officials restore this critical funding. Thank you once again for keeping us strong! Your support allows us to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and stability for homeless New Yorkers in need.