Letter from the Families of Nelson Avenue Family Residence

To the People of the City of New York,

We, the residents of Nelson Avenue Family Residence, come to you as one. We come to you for help on a number of issues. But first and fore most our main issue is that we have been informed that there are no longer any programs for the homeless. We are out there struggling with our backs against the wall. There are no programs and yet there are still no jobs. How can we manage to get out of the shelter with no programs and no jobs? There is no way we can afford New York City rent with no help.

There is no way we can afford city rent with light and water bills and public transportation on a minimum wage job, and some people in the shelter have no jobs at all but are still currently looking and trying.

Now the city is building 70 new shelters. The cost of building new shelters is very high. We believe that all the money can be invested in something more helpful to help the homeless to obtain their way out of the shelters. We, the residents of Nelson Avenue Family Residence are willing to pay low income rent in this building if that’s what it will all have to come down to.

For the case workers and the other workers in this facility to treat us like caged animals and not human beings is very unacceptable. We are innocent homeless people looking for help and a step in the door. They don’t help us to look for work or other ways to get help. They talk to us how they want and treat us how they want. We don’t know how they expect most of us to find two and three jobs when really there are no jobs. Folks are doing more laying off then hiring. There are so many people in here with so many problems and no family members to ask for help, so we come to the city for help and we get nothing. There are so many violations in this one building alone most of us have peeling, molded walls, mice, ceilings falling in, broken sinks, no ceiling in the bathrooms, holes in the walls, no heat in the winter, and when it rains there is water coming in our units.

But we come together and make the best of it knowing it’s unsafe for our children and most adults. There is nothing much we can do with no help to get out of the shelter again. We repeat there are no jobs, no programs and the cost of living is very high these days. We have case workers threatening us every week about being thrown out if we don’t find jobs or apartments. We can’t get an apartment with no job, and we can’t get a job when no one’s hiring. What are we supposed to do with our children? They are always threatening to put us out or send us to a “Next Step” shelter which is worse than the facility that we are residing in now.

We ask of you to please take into consideration our living and our health situations. We come to you because we have no where else to go or to turn. Things will be a little easier if there was Section 8 or at least a program to help us to get out of the shelter.

Nelson Avenue Family Residents are willing to pay rent and fix up this building.

Thank you kindly for your time,
The Families of Nelson Avenue Family Residence

Published in Safety Net, Autumn 2011