The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.
Every day, the Coalition for the Homeless helps more than 3,500 men, women and children suffering in extreme poverty. Our 11 frontline direct service programs provide emergency food and clothing, eviction prevention, crisis services, permanent housing, job training and youth programs to address immediate needs while helping individuals and families overcome long-term barriers to employment and stability. Here is a summary of each program’s recent accomplishments:
- The Grand Central Food Program delivered between 800 and 1,200 hot, nutritious meals per night — every night of the year — to hungry men, women and children on the streets of NYC.
- Our Eviction Prevention Program saved more than 800 households from the trauma of homelessness — keeping them in their own homes and out of the shelter system.
- Our Crisis Intervention Program, a barrier-free, walk-in program where homeless and poor New Yorkers can receive immediate assistance with almost any issue, aided roughly 11,000 men, women and children in crisis.
- The Client Advocacy Program helped 135 homeless adults with physical or mental disabilities – who had been languishing, all but forgotten, for years on the streets or in shelters – access critical disability benefits and find permanent supportive housing (affordable housing with onsite services).
- The Emergency Mail Program gave roughly 1,500 homeless New Yorkers a secure, reliable and discreet mailing address where they could receive private mail as well as important documents from government agencies, potential employers and social service organizations.
- The Bridge Building served as a stable home and sanctuary for 14 families who created a welcoming, close-knit community to recover from the shared trauma of homelessness.
- Coalition Houses provided permanent housing and supportive services to 38 homeless single adults in three beautiful landmarked brownstones in Manhattan.
- Our Scattered Site Housing Program gave 48 single adults and 18 families living with HIV/AIDS the dignity and security of safe, permanent housing.
- The First Step Job Training Program offered 216 homeless and low-income women the skills, experience and confidence needed to find living-wage jobs.
- Camp Homeward Bound, the nation’s first summer sleep-away camp designed specifically for homeless kids, welcomed 300 children to our pristine lakefront campsite in Harriman State Park.
- Bound for Success provided after-school tutoring and recreation as well as a summer day-camp to 53 homeless girls and boys living in a family shelter located in Brooklyn.
The Coalition’s Advocacy team continued to utilize impact litigation, research and analysis, grassroots organizing, shelter monitoring and public education to protect the rights of all homeless and at-risk men, women and children in our city and fight for the proven, housing-based solutions to homelessness that will bring an end to this shameful crisis once and for all.
Below are some of our key advocacy victories in FY18.
- Ensuring the Right to Safe, Decent Shelter for All Homeless New Yorkers. As a result of the landmark case Butler v. City of New York, the City must now accommodate all homeless people with disabilities and bring the shelter system into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Launch of the “House our Future NY” Campaign. The Coalition launched and is leading a major advocacy campaign to urge Mayor de Blasio to build more permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers. We are calling on the Mayor to double the number of units designated for homeless households in his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan from 15,000 to 30,000, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction. To date, the campaign’s platform has been endorsed by 61 other organizations and most other major elected officials in New York City.
- Expanding the Client Advisory Group. The Client Advisory Group (CAG) consists of residents of homeless shelters who meet every Tuesday evening in the Coalition’s offices. Members drafted and collected signatures on petitions around housing and food quality in shelters, attended rallies for various campaigns and traveled to Albany to participate in a march with the national Poor People’s Campaign. CAG members also wrote and distributed an inaugural edition of a quarterly newsletter – The Monitor – this summer documenting the tremendous work and impact of their advocacy.
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