NYC Schoolchildren Deliver Signed Postcards Asking Mayor de Blasio to Place More Homeless Families in Public Housing
Kids for a Better Future, student group of Brooklyn fourth graders, have spent year working with Coalition for the Homeless to improve lives of homeless New Yorkers
New York, NY— A group of Brooklyn fourth graders from Kids for a Better Future (KBF) joined by the Coalition for the Homeless, homeless advocates and elected officials delivered at a press conference today signed postcards to Mayor de Blasio asking him to increase NYCHA housing for homeless families. Twenty-three thousand children go to sleep in shelters each night, and the children hope to persuade Mayor de Blasio to double the number of families placed in NYCHA housing each year to 3,000.
“When Kids for a Better Future supported Coalition for the Homeless in 2009 when I was just 2 years old, there were 16,000 kids in NYC sleeping in shelters. I know because I still have my older brother’s KBF t-shirt from that year which says that. In 2017, there are 23,000 children in NYC sleeping in shelters. My hope is that Mayor de Blasio will do everything he can to help these kids just like me find a home,” said Satya Shaw, KBF member.
KBF really wants to help reduce the number of homeless children and other New Yorkers sleeping in shelters.
In this year’s “State of the Homeless” report, the Coalition outlined several steps New York City could take to immediately improve homeless shelter conditions and processes, and, more importantly, expand permanent housing options to dramatically reduce homelessness. Its first recommendation is to increase the number of public housing placements for homeless families from 1,500 per year to at least 3,000 and the number of Section 8 and HPD resources to at least 2,500 placements.
“By immediately increasing NYCHA placements for homeless families and children, the Mayor can help as many as 1,500 more families move out of the notoriously poor-quality cluster sites and into permanent homes of their own this year and next,” said Giselle Routhier, the Coalition’s Policy Director. “This win-win approach would give needy families the permanently affordable homes they need, while further boosting affordable housing overall by returning cluster site buildings to their former status as rent regulated housing. Kudos to Kids for a Better Future for all their hard work raising awareness of this critical issue.”
“We need to do everything in our power to support the children and families facing the constant challenges of homelessness,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. “There is no single solution that will solve the problem — every effort helps. That’s why it’s so important to commit to increase NYCHA housing opportunities for children in their families. I fully support Kids for a Better Future, Coalition for the Homeless, and all the advocates fighting to provide children and families the homes they deserve.”
The press conference is part of KBF’s year-long partnership with the Coalition, during which the children collected food, blankets, and warm clothes for homeless families, volunteered in a soup kitchen, made and distributed sandwiches to homeless adults living on the streets, and raised over $18,400 to support the Coalition’s programs. When two homeless children were killed in a tragic accident at a cluster-site shelter last winter, the KBF kids sent heartfelt condolence letters to the bereaved parents.
Each year, KBF chooses a different nonprofit to learn from and focus their service and advocacy efforts. In the past, they’ve supported a girls’ school in Afghanistan, the shelter and rehabilitation of former-child soldiers in the Congo, teen-peacemakers in conflict areas, and a text-based suicide hotline for teens. In total, they’ve raised well over $100,000 for children around the world.