Family Homelessness in New York City Thesis
There are many programs in place to reduce the population facing challenges because of homelessness. For instance, the federal government is planning to increase the resources to reduce the population without homes in the city. The increase in the resources will also provide houses that are more permanent to the victims. In addition, the government is struggling to provide new subsidy programs to help the affected persons. This research aims at assessing the current situation of homelessness in New York and the possible efforts to avert the problem from the city. Chapter One of the thesis provides a review of the academic literature of the past twenty years, with a focused examination of the causes of homelessness as well need for subsidies to prevent it.
Chapter Two examines homelessness as an entity and provides a historical account of the crisis, as well as the evolution towards its current epidemic levels. Chapter Three examines how authorities; both federal and state perceive this issue of homelessness in the City. Chapter Four delves into the bridge between Federal and Local policy. Finally, Chapter Five features several case studies of the public-private ventures that target family homelessness. Introduction During the early autumn in 2016 Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association declared, “I don’t trust the mayor’s office, because they say one thing and do another” to a Daily News reporter, in Maspeth, Queens. 2 This was his response to the office of the mayor and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) announcing a deal to house several dozens of employed, yet displaced residents, in an underused Holiday Inn.
The agreement between the city and the hotel owner had fallen through due, in part, to this public pressure. Yet, despite that, Mr. Holden had promised to deliver “in full force” that night, with “massive protests in the days to come. By observing the ways in which policy seeks to alleviate family homelessness, this thesis will attempt to answer the broader question of inclusion and exclusion. Which federal and city policy weighs factors such as family size, employment, and/or mental illness when moving homeless populations from shelter to permanent housing? How efficiently and well-utilized are the stock of public housing, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments, and in rem housing units? During the Koch administration, NYCHA has allocated thousands of units a year.
5 However, in recent years, the number of NYCHA apartments earmarked for transitioning shelter occupants fell to under one hundred. 6 Amid a growing chorus of politicians and public advocates, calling for more affordable housing options, this number has steadily crept up, back to nearly the two-thousand or so during the heyday of the Koch administration. Nonetheless, this study will attempt to survey housing stock made available throughout the different mayoral administrations, and review its impact on the homeless epidemic. This research will analyze the current situation in New York as far as homelessness affects the people of New York. As a result, the governments should identify specific of causes of homelessness and find the possible solutions. Apparently, homelessness affects many people in the US.
Currently, more than 60,000 families live in deplorable conditions because of homelessness in the US7. According to statistics, 10% of the total population represent children who cannot access education and other social services because of homelessness8. Homelessness is the worst symptom of extreme poverty. 12 While poverty is the confluence of structural forces and diminished life chances, any member of society can find himself or herself without adequate shelter in the event of catastrophe or illness. It will remain that the most vulnerable populations, the extreme poor, are the most susceptible to becoming homeless. Researchers refer to the surge of homeless that coincided with our era of inquiry as ‘new homelessness’. The causes of recent homelessness are held to be lack of affordable housing (gentrification and urban renewal projects), lack of economic opportunities (lay-offs, low-income/stagnate wages), and/or over-burdened social safety net benefits.
Through an examination of HUD’s Continuum of Care and community-based organizations that work directly to remedy and avert family homelessness, this chapter will draw a distinction between reactive policies of the past and the proactive programs that are beginning to dominate the arena. Chapter Five will feature several case studies of the public-private ventures that target family homelessness. Faith-based non-profits and DHS initiatives such as the Homebase and Pathway Home programs that provide direct subsidies and housing vouchers that stop family homelessness, or provide a fast track to permanent housing for homeless families with children. The methodology of these case studies will take the form of unstructured interviews with NYCHA superintendents, faith-based community organizers, and by visiting DHS offices in and around Harlem, New York.
The analysis of this primary research will assess overall system performance. Maria Foscarinis’ 1991 study titled “The Politics of Homelessness: A Call to Action” the point is made that not only did urban redevelopment projects increase property values, rendering much of the city’s housing stock financially unreachable; this was done to the detriment of affordable housing by destroying previously low-cost units in the private market. 17 As these authors rightfully concluded that gentrification stemming from the mid-1970’s caused widespread housing distress, Marcus and Foscarinis also note the massive cuts in Federal spending that accompanied President Reagan’s two-term administration. 18 The cuts in Federal aid additionally stressed New York’s fiduciary responsibilities, and in turn, the city had to revamp their certification standards for doling out whatever subsidies were available.
This “verification extremism” took the form of demanding an in-person presence when applying for aid, under the guise of “fraud control. ” Practices like these isolated and intimidated applicants while reinforcing discriminative tropes of “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. However, this, several authors noted, also works in reverse. In fact, O’Flaherty makes the case that subsidized housing does not lure families into the shelter system, but rather slows the rate at which families leave the shelter or transitional housing. Ironically, the lower rates at which homeless families move through the system are because of the tightening of the available housing market when subsidized housing becomes an option. The literature reviewed for this thesis recounted that whenever housing subsidies, permanent housing or rental vouchers are utilized as homeless policy, these tools have a positive impact across various facets of the crisis 22.
O’Flaherty and Wu report that NYCHA and Section 8 vouchers may even prevent family homelessness from occurring in the first place. Homelessness in New York During earlier periods of homeless spikes the homeless demographic was easily identified as older, white, disaffiliated men. Many of these ‘old’ homeless were disabled veterans, mentally ill, with high incidences of alcoholism; they simply opted out of life and subsisted on V. A25. benefits or Social Security payments. They usually agglomerated in one part of the city, nominally referred to as ‘skid rows’. Wherein, a family, or single individual, would utilize the shelter system or “double-up” with a sympathetic friend or family member for a short period only to reenter the housing market, and soon would become un-stabilized (usually a confluence of macro- and micro- causes) and episodic homelessness ensues.
These two types of ‘new’ homelessness have become the most prevalent demography29. However, a New York Supreme Court decision, Callahan v. Carey, and the federal responses (in the form of the McKinney-Vento Act, 1987) specifically deal with housing issues, in New York City this is usually in the form of warehouse style shelter construction; turning a blind eye and deaf ear to underlying causes and social services focused on prevention. The crisis in New York City mushroomed beyond an acceptable or manageable figure as homeless policy both nationally and locally has shifted greatly over the decades. While community activists attempted to stem the rising tide of shelters and clinics in their neighborhoods. 31 Every policy and community struggle illustrated the need for both alternative housing options and a nuanced support system.
The aforementioned New York Supreme Court Callahan v. Carey consent decree ruling of 1981 and its spawning of New York’s shelter system can be seen as compassionate government response to a burgeoning crisis. However, under scrutiny, New York’s early homeless policy had a multiplier effect when it comes to disaffiliation and marginalization of the homeless population. ” Homeless and community advocates counted this among many improvements in the fight to end homelessness. 33 Community organizations and non-profits grew during this period (fostering a climate of both public and political advocacy). These ‘market corrections’ indirectly established a ‘business’ of homelessness and poverty. With all good intentions aside, the institutionalization of homelessness had a normalizing effect on both the public and elected officials. Indeed, the method of dealing with the epidemic created one of the major hurdles to eradicating it.
Once Dinkins moved into Gracie Mansion, the city’s policy took a softer approach to the needs of the homeless. Whereas Koch had little faith in solving the genuine problems of the homeless, individuals and families, the Dinkins administration had taken a liberal-positive stance that only those in clear need would be willing to enter the shelter system in search of permanent housing. Unfortunately, Dinkins and his advisors still clung to the belief that homelessness was strictly an issue of inadequate and affordable housing. 35 With that in mind, it is plain to see Dinkins’ rationale for nearly emptying welfare motels and moving families into permanent housing. Nevertheless, in his effort to ease the path to home security, the relaxed standards, and streamlined method did add to the city’s homeless family list.
There are other factors which lead to high cost of housing. For instance, overcrowding of people in a particular place makes other people to create space for others. Unemployment Inadequate job opportunities is another major cause of homelessness in the US. The increasing population in the US poses a challenge in the environment. For instance, the population of people cannot match the available employment opportunities. For instance, seasonal jobs are always predictable because they render people homeless. Individuals will be able to pay for the cost of rent during the working period and eventually become homeless because he or she cannot manage to pay for the cost of housing. Job markets place many low-income families at risk of losing their shelters39.
The available job opportunities are not sufficient for the works to save for more than three months. As a result, workers can only meet the recurrent expenses within thirty days after losing the job. According to the research, 50% of the advantaged families were lucky to return to shelters because they could manage to pay for the cost of housing. Bloomberg administration failed because it use temporary policies with an aim of solving permanent housing problems. For example, more than 30,000 adults together with children made a trip through the shelter system40. Such disastrous policies derail the efforts to avert the problem of homelessness in New York. The number of formerly homeless families returning to their initial shelter has gone down by approximately 15%41.
These organizations accepts donations through websites. However, there are political climates which donate encourage donation of goods and money. For instance, some politicians discourage funding some of these organization which eventually lead to increase in people facing homelessness in New York. For instance, the director of Ali Forney Center admitted that the administration of Trump is not funding his organization as the previous administrations used to help his foundation43. In this regard, his organization is grappling with an estimate of $1 million of federal contracts. However, the number of the placements has not reached the required levels of FY 2003-2005. The city has also accrued a deficit as far as the proportion of Federal housing resources allocation are concerned. For example, the city provided 3989 Federal housing placements for the affected families in 200547.
However, the trend has been changing since 2006 because few affected families have been receiving such benefits. Passing relevant policies The government should aim at having favorable laws and policies which encourages people to have shelters. Housing first approach “House First” is an approach developed by New York government to give priority to homeless families. The primary aim of the approach was to provide permanent housing to street homeless families. The approach also involves moving the street homeless people to subsidized housing. Apparently, most of the street families had mental illness, related drug abuse diseases and other health complications49. As a result, they deserved the services, which included the provision of the shelter, food and other basic needs. A survey by the New York city’s comptroller, Scott M.
Stringer, pointed out that over a decade, the plan suggested by Andrew Hevesi can cut the shelter population of New York city by approximately 80% among families with children and 40% among single grownups54. Striking those figures, which are well over the current goals of Mayor Blasio that are aimed at minimizing the shelter people by less than 1% in a whole year, could reduce the requirement for the approximately 90 new shelters55. Mr. Blasio suggested aiding with the over than 50, 000 individuals straining New York city’s major shelter system. For victims of domestic violence, whether facing proceeding of ‘kick out’ or not, can now receive funding. The steep rise in the figure of freshly homeless families is a cause of huge worry, and can be addressed by the reducing the number of women or men running away from domestic violence, going into the streets, as well as facing inadequacy that limits them from owning a house in New York City.
The other contributors to a high number of families who are homeless include policies of admission and eligibility. In the year 2015, the state altered some policies of admissions of shelter to eliminate unimportant as well as general barriers that are administrative or bureaucratic, which had formerly led to qualified families being denied the chance of being placed in shelters58. The previously existing policies had banned numerous families who were homeless from getting access to life-saving shelters as they were referred back to housing that was either unsafe or inaccessible. For instance, a new housing project providing families admittance to long-lasting, cheap homes have undoubtedly aided to shoot the quick rise in demand for shelter, which started in the year 201163. By changing a decade-long rule of rejecting families that are homeless urgency access to public accommodation as well as Section 8- and in its place placing a total of 1500 families in public accommodation and 1500 families with Section 8 in every FY 2015 and 2016 – the administration of Mayor de Blasio took the initial vital step required to alleviate the population of shelters.
The delivery of these vital resources of accommodation illustrates a solid rise from the paltry 170 overall NYCHA as well as the placement of Section 8 carried out in the year 2013 by Bloomberg, the then mayor of New York City64. Still, the total number of these placements is yet to strike the year 2003 to 2005 levels, when New York City encountered the simple multi-year decline in the census of family shelter in approximately a period of 20 years65. Between the years 2006 and 2014, New York City intensely minimized the utilization of the resources of Federal accommodation to aid homeless people, as well as families, get out of shelters – a tragic verdict given that the speed at which initially homeless families remain firmly accommodated is the largest in these forms of accommodation.
In New York City, there is excellent cause to examine if the society-based undertakings can prevent household shelter admittances69. Because subsequent settlements, as well as litigation, the New York City, offers single units with isolated kitchen and bath facilities for numerous families with accommodation emergencies. Therefore, household homelessness in the City is vital about admittance into as well as a period of stay in its huge and expensive household shelter system. The overall household that stays in the shelter system is more than 12 months at a price of more than 30, 000 US dollars70. Dedicating capitals to economic society-based undertakings that keep households in their home, whether fruitful, may prevent the disturbing impacts of entry into the shelter on the lives of members of a household as well as generate considerable cost savings to the administrations that fund shelters.
Therefore, several households enter shelter because they have an issue which some form of temporary aid may possibly improve. Homebase is planned to aid or assist households overcome these direct issue as well as barriers which might source them to lose accommodation; and thus to decrease entries of households into homeless shelters. The city of New York contracts about 13 agencies which are not-for-profit to run the HB Centers. These 13 agencies are skilled providers of case-control as well as an inclusive service of social welfare for local households. HB households encountering difficult in accommodation willingly apply to the HB Center neighboring their areas74. In the year 2007, on July 31, more community districts were involved, and the other 29 community districts began early 2008. The developments were not aimless either.
The expansion of the year 2007 was majorly in Queens as well as Manhattan, and by its end, each community district in the two regions was functioning76. The expansion of the year 2008 was majorly in the districts of Brooklyn and Bronx, as well involved all 3 community districts in State Island. Even though the centers of Homebase before the year 2008 were expected to serve just households dwelling in appropriate community districts, they did not constantly stand by this law77. New York is an interesting area of the study because it has the highest number of homeless families. In addition, New York is also experiencing other social problems, which lead to homelessness. For instance, some of the factors that cause homelessness include unemployment and low income, poor policies and high cost of housing.
For this reasons, there is a need to assess the historical causes, current conditions and the future position of homelessness in New York. Target Population The study targeted people living in New York ranging from children and adults of homeless families. For example, the government white papers played a critical role in analyzing the policies that aim to reduce the level of homelessness in New York. Chapter 4 Data Analysis, Presentation and Discussion Effects of homelessness on children From the research, it is clear that there are children spending at least one night in a shelter. However, many children face homelessness that afflicts them in different ways. From the records, more than 45,000 children slept in at least one night in shelters found in the city of New York.
Homelessness affects children in different ways. In the diagram below, shows the distribution of homeless families placed in federal housing. There is a drastic change in the population in the federal housing. Government plays a pivotal role in regulating the population in the federal housing. However, the number of people in federal housing increased in the year 2006 because of the change in administration. It is clear that the regime of Obama supported placing of homeless families in federal housing. According to the research, New York is the most affected state in the US. There are currently more than 16000 families frustrated by homelessness in New York. The prevailing situation ascribes to various factors in New York. Some of the causes of homelessness are manageable and avoidable while others are beyond control.
For example, certain policies deployed by the government play a key role in spreading homelessness in New York. However, the occurrence of natural disasters is unpredictable. In retrospect, poverty is the major cause of homelessness in New York. Consequently, there are tremendous improvements to eradicate homelessness from New York. For example, there are many policies, which favors homeless families. The presence of federal housing helps people to secure shelter. Generally, despite the efforts that the federal and state authorities have put towards ending this issue of homelessness, nothing substantial has been achieved yet. Therefore, the authorities in charge of the city should come up with novel plans to help reduce the number of homeless people in the streets of NYC. Works Cited "Basic Facts about Homelessness: New York City.
" Coalition for the Homeless. Accessed July 27, 2018. Bassuk, Ellen L. , and Stephanie Geller. "The role of housing and services in ending family homelessness. " Housing Policy Debate 17, no. Brown, Daniel. html. Foscarinis, Maria. "The politics of homelessness: A call to action. " American psychologist 46, no. Goodman, Sarena, Peter Messeri, and Brendan O'Flaherty. Thorpe. "A population-based assessment of the health of homeless families in New York City, 2001–2007. " American Journal of Public Health 101, no. Lee, Barrett A. , Kimberly A. O’Flaherty, Brendan, and Ting Wu. "Fewer subsidized exits and a recession: How New York City’s family homeless shelter population became immense. " Journal of Housing Economics 15, no. Reynolds, Kristin, and Nevin Cohen. Beyond the kale: Urban agriculture and social justice activism in New York City. Routledge, 2014.
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