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March 19, 2019
The need to address homelessness is as pressing as ever. The past few years have laid bare the persistent and far-reaching effects of the affordable housing crisis in New York City. Citizens’ Committee for Children recently published an infographic to illustrate how a disproportionate number of the city’s young children and low income families of color face this challenge.
The trauma of homelessness is something children carry with them for years. It impacts their short and long term health, economic stability, and well-being. Investing in programs that not only provide stable housing but connect children and families to needed resources that prevent and address the impact of homelessness on children are investments that not only help to strengthen outcomes for New York’s children and families, but benefit our communities and the city as a whole for years to come.
This is why CCC is working with our partners on the Family Homelessness Coalition to advocate for legislative and budget reforms that will help reduce the number of families experiencing homelessness and ensure that families who must enter shelter have access to the services and supports that ensure their needs are met, and that greater numbers of homeless families benefit from permanent affordable housing.
In terms of prevention, the Coalition is working to increase awareness around the need to invest in an innovative Neighborhood-based Service Coordination model that would aim to prevent shelter entry and increase housing stability after a shelter stay. Such a model would provide dedicated outreach to families at risk of homelessness and expand the continuum of aftercare services available to families who have found permanent housing. Services may include financial counseling, workforce training, child care, health resources and others.
In terms of services in shelter, the Coalition is advancing a series of recommendations to ensure that the city successfully moves away from the use of hotels and scatter sites and improves shelter conditions and children’s access to services while families are in shelter. Among these efforts, CCC is advocating to restore funding for Bridge the Gap — a program that brings social workers to schools with high rates of homeless students. The mayor failed to include Bridge the Gap in his recently released Preliminary Budget.
Finally, in terms of increasing access to affordable housing, there are bills we are championing at the state and local level. At the state level, CCC and our coalition partners have been working to make the case for a fully funded Home Stability Support rental subsidy (A.160/ S.2375) which will not only help prevent homelessness but also ensure stable, permanent housing for families who are homeless, at risk of eviction or living in dangerous conditions. At the local level, our coalition partners have been working to make the case to increase the percentage of affordable housing units that are set aside for families at risk of homelessness or who are homeless (Intro 1211). These bills, if enacted, would not only help prevent homelessness but also ensure stable, permanent affordable housing for families who have experienced homelessness.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the infographic:
Additional information on family homelessness and housing risks at the borough and community district level across the city is available on Keeping Track Online.