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Homeless in New York

Updated on January 3, 2013
A young homeless family on the streets. Lucky to have a loving mother.
A young homeless family on the streets. Lucky to have a loving mother. | Source

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

Shelters do not accept animals. He will not leave his best friend out in the cold. They are both hungry and cold.
Shelters do not accept animals. He will not leave his best friend out in the cold. They are both hungry and cold. | Source

Receiving Food.

In a Soup Kitchen.
In a Soup Kitchen. | Source

Jobless and homeless

He gave his all.  He did not come home to a job.
He gave his all. He did not come home to a job. | Source

Homeless Services

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.

Covenant House. Many celebrities support this Charity, including Diana Ross.
Covenant House. Many celebrities support this Charity, including Diana Ross. | Source

Saving our Youth.

Come Volunteer at Covenant House's many Programs.
Come Volunteer at Covenant House's many Programs. | Source

Covenant House Outreach Van.

Covenant House

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.


Sleep-Out.

The first ever 'Sleep-Out Executive Edition' raised $500,000 for homeless services.
The first ever 'Sleep-Out Executive Edition' raised $500,000 for homeless services.

Covenant House.

Covenant House, near Port Authority Bus Terminal, West 44th. St.
Covenant House, near Port Authority Bus Terminal, West 44th. St. | Source

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.

See The Need.
See The Need. | Source

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:

Send a kid a note ›

http://www.avivausa.com/portal/site/avivausa/content/home/youmanity#messageofhope

You may also give any child a present from the in-house catalogue.: a blanket, a pair of socks, etc. for Christmas.

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.

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    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      You're so welcome, Rosemay.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Thank you for the link mijo

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Rosemay, thanks for the visit and your lovely comments. Yes, I think the catalogue is an all year round thing. The executive 'sleep-outs' are truly awesome people. Imagine sleeping on concrete when you're used to the feather bed in your million dollar mansion? ha ha, they need that reminder that 'there but for the grace of God etc...'

      Thanks for the links. I was a bit late or just too unconscious to know much about the HOW movement. I'll go search out the articles. Thanks.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is an awesome hub mizjo. Those that take part in the 'sleep out' to raise funds is awesome not only are they raising funds, awareness but also telling the homeless that they are not forgotten. . Thank you for the link to the gift catalogue, I am assuming it is an all year round thing.

      Thank you for sharing this important topic.

      I have linked this to the poem of mine you read ans also to my 'H.O.W Humanity One World - Give Hope' hub.

      This hub would make an wonderful addition the H.O.W movement happening here on HP.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, MaryLou, thank you for visiting and your nice comments. Bless you too, and be seeing you soon, I hope.

    • profile image

      Mary Lou 4 years ago

      Thanks for keeping us aware of a lot of homeless people especially children. You seem to have a lot of followers on this subject. Keep up the good work you are doing. God bless you!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Thanks for dropping by and all those votes.

      You're doing a great job up there with your care packs. With this increasing cold it's horrifying to imagine anybody out there at night.

      Yes, Aviva's program is so clever - benefiting the kids in two ways at once.

      Have a wonderful Christmas, Vision.

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 4 years ago from North York, Canada

      Wow, this is such an awesome hub! I'm sharing this and voting up and awesome. Thanks so much for sharing all this important information about the good and necessary work being done. Thank you also for letting others know of my hub on the homeless.

      I'm very intrigued by the Aviva program--what a wonderful idea to send those kids a note and have it actually benefit them in a very real way. Absolutely wonderful.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Churches are a great center for collecting aid for the homeless. Over here we also have many other centers where people can donate their coats at, either new or gently used. The centers place ads all over the city to make themselves visible.

      One of our hubbers, visionandfocus, has an awesome hub on how to put together a care pack for the homeless.

      Thanks for visiting, Anglnwu, and have a wonderful Christmas.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 4 years ago

      When the weather gets cold, it can really get difficult for homeless. I can only imagine. I know every year, our church has some kind of outreach to the homeless of San Diego. We collect socks, coats for them on Christmas eve to be distributed on Christmas day. Thanks for sharing.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hey, Michelle, good to see you here.

      What's the situation regarding homelessness in Singapore, particularly of the young? I didn't see any beggars when I was there recently.

      Thanks for visiting, and the share.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Mizjo, thanks for the link! I will visit and leave a note. Thanks for sharing about the plight of the homeless, which needs to be made known to others. Sharing!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi again,Graham. Yes it is disgraceful that with all this affluence there should be so much homelessness and misery. The governments, and the wealthy, leave it to us to chip in with our 2 cents. Talk of 'the widow's mite'.

      Thanks for visiting, Graham.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi mizjo. This heartbreaking hub reflects the situation in the UK. That this state of affairs is tolerated in this day and age is a total disgrace. Well done for bringing this to the fore.

      Graham.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Thanks, Nell, for reading and for your kind comments.

      Do you have a sort of Covenant House over there? I do know you have very good Children's Services over there.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Such an important hub, we have many homeless over here in England too, and the one thing I always say is that they should be able to take their pets into a home with them, people should never underestimate the importance of these animals, they keep people alive, I know I had a friend who only survived outside because of her dog, just a though, great hub, nell

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, Mhatter, this is a very sad fact of life in New York, where there is so much wealth. The divide between the 2% and the rest seems unbreachable. Thankfully, there are many generous people out there. Thank you for visiting.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for raising awareness about this.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Jackwms, nice to meet you, and thanks for visiting my hub. I was so fascinated by the incredible architecture of those shelters I just had to share them.

      The homeless are so very deserving of help. Whatever misfortune landed them in their situation, most could not have helped it. Most people want to work, to be independent, to provide for themselves and their families, to not be pushed over the edge into alcoholism or drugs.

      And the children suffer the most. Yes, we must show compassion.

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 4 years ago

      This is a wonderful hub and very touching. Your photos are excellent. I loved the video about homeless shelters in Nevada City, California. What a great idea.

      While it may be true that some have adopted this as a way of life, I feel very sure that they are in the minority. Certainly, the children didn't choose this. The veterans who came home damaged in many ways deserve better. So many people are just a couple paychecks or more from being homeless. Once there, it becomes extremely difficult to work their way out.

      Even those with drug and alcohol problems should not be simply discarded as hopeless. Who knows how they became addicted? Many can be helped with just a bit of compassionate help.

      Good hub