Ladies and gents –
This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. But homelessness in America is still an epidemic – and in big cities, it’s on the rise.
There are over 600,000 homeless people in America; the rise of income inequality, lack of affordable housing and languishing unemployment numbers are all contributors.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York City has the highest homeless population in the country. Let’s put this into context: the number of homeless New Yorkers would not only fill every seat in Yankee Stadium, but about 1,300 more would be left outside. Over the past year, the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system was – at 53,000 people – the highest level ever recorded. The average shelter stay for homeless families with children is now 14.5 months, the longest ever recorded.
We would like you to help us to gather more information, to help report out this story. We are asking each of you to call your local City Hall this week and ask one question: how many emergency shelter beds are available for homeless youth? According to the Coalition for the Homeless, there are only 4,000 such beds available nationally – and that is a woefully inadequate number for the more than 40,000 unaccompanied homeless youth in America on any given night.
How many beds are available where you live? Let us know what you find out via Twitter, Facebook, email, or right here on our website by leaving a comment in the Team Ronan group. It will be interesting to hear the answers from different towns & cities.
And we’ll post your responses throughout the week!