Homeless in New York
Homelessness in New York
It is December 14th., eleven days from Christmas, and it is 41 degrees F. in New York City. In Yonkers, a few miles further north, it is 37 degrees. Do you know where your children are?
Many of the more than 20,300 homeless children in New York City do not know where their parents are. If they had a parent, they would be lucky. If they had somewhere safe and warm to sleep tonight, they would be luckier still.
Some will not go into shelters
Jobless and homeless
Homelessness in New York City in recent years has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. Each year, more than 110,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, sleep at least one night in the municipal shelter system. The Department of Homeless Services tries to place unsheltered homeless people in various transitional or permanent housing depending on whether they wish to be sheltered or not. Some do not, for various reasons, one being personal safety. So they sleep out, in the cold - and die. 700 freeze to death every year in the US.
There are many Homeless Programs, run by the city and by privately-funded charities, to help the homeless get food and shelter, but they are always in desperate need of funds and voluntary manpower.
There are many reasons for homelessness. They include: poverty; job loss; domestic violence; high housing/rental costs; disability - physical/mental; family break up; lack of affordable health care; drug abuse. These are by no means comprehensive.
The Most Vulnerable.
The most vulnerable of the homeless are the young. Without outside help, they will probably be doomed to repeat their parents’ history of a life on the streets, abused, beaten and forgotten. These young people must be helped or we will lose out on their potential and their energy. They are our future, and they need our support.
Saving our Youth.
Covenant House Outreach Van.
Since opening its doors in 1972, 40 years ago, Covenant House has helped many more than 1 million homeless and runaway youths with food, shelter and love. The privately-funded Charity runs many programs to help kids get on their feet, obtain an education and become contributing members of society.
Their crisis shelters, long-term residential programs, their Mother/Child program and their Community Service Centers in neighborhoods across the States, Central America and Canada help over 20,000 kids a year.
Every night, staff and volunteers search in vans and on foot for kids in desperate need through the Street Outreach Programs. These brave people go into the most violent neighborhoods with food and drink for hungry kids and to let them know there is shelter and help if they want it. More than 31,000 are helped a year.
The Covenant House hotline, NINELINE, gets 20,000 crisis calls a year from young people in immediate need on the streets, from parents, and caregivers. Every homeless kid who passes through Covenant House’s doors is provided a place of shelter and support, protection and safeguard. That is the commitment of Covenant House.
The Charity has ‘houses’ in 22 cities (5 years ago; no more recent statistic) providing all the love, care and vital resources to help a young person break away forever from a life of abandonment, abuse, trafficking and exploitation.
Funding for Programs
Covenant House does not receive government funding but relies on its fund-raisers, donations and corporate funding to keep running. The needs are greater than ever, as each year more than 2 million kids in America will face a period of homelessness.
Charitable companies like QBE (an insurance company), and Aviva (another insurance company) have given and do still give generously.
In 2011, business leaders organised the first ever ‘Solidarity Sleep-Out: Executive Edition’, a night of 50 participants sleeping out in solidarity with homeless youth. Sponsorship for the event raised $500,000.
On November 15, 2012, ‘over 400 leaders slept on concrete outside Covenant House shelters across America, in Canada and Latin America,’ said Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House. This event raised $3.1 million to serve our homeless youth. ‘With the money and awareness raised, this Sleep Out will save lives.’
'Each November, business leaders and top corporate executives spend one night sleeping on the streets in solidarity with countless homeless kids to let them know they are not alone ... and to let others know that together, we can make a difference.' - Covenant House news.
What You Can Do
How you can help. Show the kids you care. Aviva has a program that needs a small non-monetary output from you: Send a message to one of the kids at Covenant House and Aviva will donate $1 - up to $100,000 - for every note sent. Aviva has several programs through this link:
You may also give any child a present from the in-house catalogue.: a blanket, a pair of socks, etc. for Christmas.
- If the links don't work, please copy and paste to your address bar.
If this article has touched you, please open your hearts to the poor this Christmas. Every little helps. Remember Our Lord's admonishment: ''Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"
(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV). God bless you, and have a Blessed Christmas.