Last week, New York City’s Transit president told the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Board that he has directed station managers to kick out any homeless people who are lying down in the subway stations.
According to The New York Post, the NYC Transit president, Andy Byford, stated, “Having a seat and getting warm is fine, but I will not tolerate them leaving messes or laying across seats.”
Rebutting a board member who stated, “We need to be aware of the many reasons why people are homeless”; the New York Post reported that Mr. Byford “responded that he wasn’t going to let the homeless affect the comfort of his riders.”
The question is, how will this “zero tolerance” policy be implemented, and what will be the resulting effects?
As many New Yorkers are aware, the city’s housing crisis, along with other factors, has unfortunately turned the subway system into a makeshift homeless shelter at night, especially during the winter months. What will happen to the people who are seeking shelter in the subway station after they are expelled? Where will they go instead?
-The Homeless New Yorker
- New York City public schools have 114,659 homeless students; a record high.
- “New York City has one of the highest populations of homeless students of any big city in America.”
- “There are more homeless students in New York City than people in Albany.”
- “At 144 [New York City] public schools, a third of the children are homeless.”
- “Tonight, about one out of every 10 students in New York City will sleep in a homeless shelter or in the homes of relatives.”
- Last year was the third consecutive year the number of homeless New York City public school students exceeded 100,000.
- “For every 1,660 homeless students, there’s roughly 1 social worker.”
- “Some students have to travel through two or more boroughs to reach school from their shelters; only about half of the city’s homeless families lived in a shelter in the same borough where their youngest child attended school last year.”
- District 10 in the Bronx has the most homeless children out of the city’s 32 districts. It has 10,804 homeless students.
- District 10 “includes Kingsbridge International High School, where about 44 percent of the students who attended the school over the last four years were homeless at one point.”
- “Last year, students living in a shelter missed an average of about 30 days in the school year.”
- Due to living challenges, homeless students are more likely to struggle at school. In New York City, “in the 2015-16 school year, just 12 percent of students living in shelters passed the state math exam, and 15 percent passed English.”
[SOURCE: The New York Times]
A year ago, yesterday, I exited the New York City homeless shelter system. Being in the homeless shelter system was a life-changing experience for me. The New York City homeless shelter system seems to have a lot of similarities with the prison system. People who are in the homeless shelter system for a bevy of reasons, including upstanding citizens who have fell victim to New York City’s vicious cycle of gentrification, are treated like inmates; basically, dehumanized and “institutionalized.”
It’s a process to mentally, emotionally, and physically shake off the despicable trauma of the NYC homeless shelter system. When I read Wu Tang Klan’s U-God’s memoir, a passage in the tome regarding adjusting to life after incarceration reminded me of adjusting to life after being homeless.
In his book, “Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang,” U-God states: “You need about the same amount of time back in the world as you served in jail. If you did three years inside, you’re gonna need three years outside to get your head on straight. You have to catch up with the world that’s kept moving on while you’ve been separated from it. You aren’t just gonna walk out the gate and pick up your life right where you left off. You gotta readjust yourself, reestablish your routines, and above all, get used to the freedom of not being locked up, because that’s one of the biggest things every convict has to overcome.”
Despite the traumatic and extremely negative experiences I had in the NYC homeless shelter system, I appreciate what I learned and experienced there. My experiences in that system armed me with a effective and potent tool for helping others. I will never forget what I experienced, and I will not stop speaking out about it until things are changed, and greater numbers of people are helped.
To commemorate my anniversary, I have set some new personal goals. Me and my husband will also go to a shelter this weekend and give back, directly, to the people.
Lots of Love,
-The Homeless New Yorker
In a March 28, 2018, New York Post article entitled: “Ex-Deputy Mayor Enlisted To Help Fight The Homeless Shelter” the following is stated: “Department of Homeless Services officials [say] the average price to house [a homeless person] in [a] traditional shelter is about $54,000 per year.”
The average is $54,000 per bed, per year?! SMH! To put that in perspective, according to The Coalition For The Homeless, the number of homeless people living in New York City shelters in February 2018 was 63,343.
$54,000 x 63,343= $3,420,522,000
There’s never a good time to be homeless, but this is an especially difficult time of the year to be without proper housing/shelter. It’s holiday season, and it’s brutally cold outside.
For the people who are “street homeless,” the arctic climate is dangerously foreboding. I’m gathering some winter garments to distribute to those who need them. If you are able to do so, please do the same. Come up with a plan with your family, co-workers, loved ones, etc. on how you can help someone who is out in the cold.
It doesn’t take a large organization, or great wealth, to help. Even if you help one person, that’s a great contribution! It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. Any small gesture is a great contribution to bettering the world.
If you are reading this and you are homeless, keep the faith. Don’t let any person, or circumstance, make you feel that you don’t deserve the best for yourself. This belief will help pull you through. Peace and love to you.
-The Homeless New Yorker
In a recent New York Daily News editorial, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio stated the following:
“Wherever I go, I meet folks who are doing everything right- working hard, making a decent salary and trying to build a better life. In the New York I moved to 40 years ago, that was enough to feel economically secure.
The city had a lot of problems back then, but finding an affordable place to live wasn’t one of them.
It would have been hard to imagine a city where more than half of our people spend more on rent than they can afford, where entire neighborhoods slip out of reach of working families, where even people we once considered solidly middle class ask themselves: Can we still afford to live here?
Well, let me be clear: It’s New York that can’t afford to lose people like you.
This has to be a place where seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class can all afford to live. Otherwise, it’s not New York anymore.” -NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio