Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here’s A Summer Must Read, and a Brave Call to Action

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer published a great article in Sunday’s New Daily News that startled a number of people.  It was startling because Councilman Van Bramer wrote about his own family’s experience with homelessness – a story certainly most people had never heard.

It was a great story because Van Bramer put a face on homelessness and touched people who normally don’t think about homelessness or that the next homeless family in New York might be very much like your neighbor’s family, your own relatives or perhaps the family of your Council member or you.

Van Bramer used his story to call on all citizens to be part of the solution: “As the city declares war on inequality and Mayor de Blasio rightly takes a humane and honest approach to ending homelessness, we must all be part of the solution. All human beings have a right to shelter. Some may say that’s feel-good liberalism run amok, but in the City of New York, it happens to be the law. We must house our homeless and that means finding places for families like mine to live and begin again.” 

You should read the whole story here.

In a time of dramatically increasing stigmatization of poor or homeless people, that’s often resulted in criminalization of poverty or homelessness or, worse, outright attacks on people experiencing homelessness, it’s inspiring to see our Council Majority Leader leading on a controversial issue.  Championing homeless people may not be the most “politic” thing to do; but it’s the right thing to do.


Thank you Councilman Van Bramer! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Congratulations to City Councilman Steve Levin

On Winning Dedication Award from NYC PHCH

Last week City Councilman Steve Levin, Chairman of Council’s General Welfare Committee, was the recipient of a “Dedication to Improving the Lives of NYC Under Served People” Award presented by the NYC Providers of Health Care for the Homeless (PHCH).  CFH is a charter member of PHCH and CFH Assistant Executive Director Debbian Fletcher-Blake introduced Councilman Levin and presented him with the award.

Councilman Levin has long fought for poor, homeless or underserved New Yorkers and as Committee Chair has been a leading advocate for targeting housing resources to people experiencing homelessness. He told the group of 100 participants at the conference “people who do the life-saving and life-changing work of providing health care and help to homeless people, usually with little recognition, are an inspiration to me in my work on Council” and promised to “be a partner in the fight to do what is right.”

Also recognized at the conference was Care for the Homeless Health Information Specialist John Hyun who received a S/HERO Award from PHCH. S/Hero awards are given annually by PHCH to outstanding providers of service who are nominated and selected by their colleagues at their service agency. Hyun’s award was presented by Dr. Marissa Toussaint, CFH’s Medical Director.

The NYC Providers of Health Care for the Homeless conference is held annually on the occasion of national Health Care for the Homeless Day. The conference was held at the Javits Federal Building in Manhattan.  Other speakers included John Lozier, Executive Director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council; Beverly Grossman, Senior Policy Director of the Community Health Care Association of New York State; Dr. Dova Marder, Medical Director of the city Department of Homeless Services; Dr. James O’Connell, President of Boston’s Health Care for the Homeless Program; and Gilbert Taylor, Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services.       

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fill a backpack, fill a need!


Did you know there are over 80,000 homeless school children in New York City? 

Thousands of homeless parents are worrying about not being able to afford the items on their children’s school supply list. 

You can help ensure that homeless children are not left behind or forgotten by donating much needed school supplies this summer. This small gesture creates an encouraging environment for academic success by building confidence for the new academic year.

When: July 17 - August 22

Where: Drop off supplies at 30 East 33rd Street, 5th Floor, NY, NY 10016 
            or Susan's Place 1911 Jerome Avenue, BX. 

Questions? Email Rosanna at rmontilla@cfhnyc.org or call 212-366-4459 ext. 202. 

Thank you to our committed sponsors, West Side Foods, 4 Kids in Need, Institute for Family Health and all of our generous donors for inspiring homeless children.    



Thursday, July 31, 2014

785 of Our Homeless Clients will Now Have Their Basic Needs Met

Because of your support, the Toiletry Drive was a huge success this year, bringing in well over 7,000 pieces of toiletries!

Thanks to donations from our caring supporters, Colgate, DNA Public Relations, Hope and Comfort, Inc., and more, we have gathered thousands of toiletries that will be distributed to homeless clients all over New York City.

The College of Mount Saint Vincent students, participants of the TRIO program, have volunteered at Susan’s Place for two consecutive years. Yesterday, in a race against time, they broke their own record and assembled 785 toiletry kits, surpassing last year’s goal!


Thank you for continuing to support Care for the Homeless. We can’t do it without you!   

The College of Mount Saint Vincent TRIO Students at Susan's Place 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Save the Date: September 4 Fashion Show Fundraiser

Health Empowered Beauty

Join us on September 4, 2014 for our annual Health Empowered Beauty Fashion Show Fundraiser to benefit Susan's Place. A fashion show unlike any other, this inspiring event will feature Susan's Place homeless clients as models.

Tickets start at $20! Click here to purchase tickets and get more information.

Health Empowered Beauty Fashion Show
Thursday September 4, 2014 at 6:30 PM
@Subud Chelsea Center 
230 West 29th Street (Map
Subway: 1 to 28th Street or B,D,F,M,N,Q,R 
to 34th Street Herald Square 


Will you be in the front row
on the runway this year?




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Municipal ID Signed into Law

On July 10, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Municipal ID Law, creating a creates a municipal identification card that will be accepted by city agencies and give New Yorkers greater access to cultural, educational and commercial services. Care for the Homeless strongly advocated for the Municipal ID bill since its introduction.
One of our client leaders, Anthony Wiliams, was one of 12 advocates who testified at the Mayoral Public Hearing the day before the law was signed and the only homeless advocate who spoke. Read his testimony below. Earlier this spring, Care for the Homeless testified at a New York City Council Hearing on the bill. Read more after the jump.

Care for the Homeless Client Testimony Supporting Municipal ID Legislation
By Anthony Williams, Client Leader
Presented to New York City Mayoral Public Hearing, July 9, 2014

My name is Anthony Williams. I’m a client leader with Care for the Homeless in New York City, an organization that has advocated for the municipal ID legislation - we’re very appreciative to the Mayor and Council for this law.

Anthony Williams
On May 28th of this year I was mugged on a subway platform – for the past 5 weeks I’ve been living without government accepted ID. As a person who has lived through chronic homelessness, this isn’t the first time I’ve been in need of ID or struggled to get one. When I thank you for this legislation I’m speaking first-hand about something I’ve lived through.

New York is the greatest city in the world, but it’s difficult to live here without government approved identification. Up until now getting proper ID hasn’t been easy or convenient. Having acceptable ID gives a person confidence and makes it much easier to access city and other resources and services, it makes it easier and more pleasant to interact with police and law enforcement and it makes it possible to use cultural and business services. We have world class services and opportunities in New York, but being without ID denies you the full opportunity to enjoy them.

If this municipal ID bill did no more than assist our undocumented non-citizen neighbors, why wouldn’t we support it? But it actually does far more. It opens up access and opportunities for New Yorkers like me, who though life-long citizens have difficulties due to losing ID and other documents through theft, natural disaster or for whatever reason. It will afford me the opportunity to say that I count. That is what this about, counting as a New Yorker.

That makes this law an opportunity I welcome, I support and I truly thank you for. 

Care for the Homeless Testimony Supporting Municipal ID Legislation
By Jeff Foreman, Care for the Homeless Policy Director
Presented to New York City Council Committee on Immigration, 
April 30, 2014
 
Chairman Menchaca and Members of the New York City Council Immigration Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today in support of Intro 253, the proposed New York City Identity Card legislation. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cuomo Says About AIDS, New York Can Be “First State in the Nation Committed to Ending this Epidemic”

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

Governor Andrew Cuomo, marching in the New York City Pride Day event on Saturday, committed New York to “bending the curve”on HIV/AIDS policies in order to “end the AIDS epidemic” and assure that those living with HIV/AIDS remain healthy He announced a three point program to “decrease new HIV infections to the point where the number of people living with HIV in New York is reduced for the first time.”

The Governor’s plan, much of which has been advocated by Care for the Homeless, includes:
1.       Identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care (as CFH does through rapid HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment, every day);
2.       Linking and retaining persons diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission (CFH provides primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS and health education concerning HIV every day); and,
3.       Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative.

“New York State has reached an important milestone in controlling the AIDS epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said, “and through this comprehensive strategy we are decreasing new HIV infections to the point where by 2020 the number of persons living with HIV in New York State will be reduced for the first time.”

Earlier this year, CFH and a strong statewide advocacy community won the fight to put a 30% rent cap on the portion of HIV patient’s income that can be charged for those housed in government housing programs like the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) housing system in New York City. That major victory assures housing stability for the first time to thousands of people living with HIV in New York. “That was a huge achievement,” according to CFH Executive Director Bobby Watts, “because housing really is healthcare, and it’s a real threat to anyone living with HIV to be unstably housed.”

The first report of AIDS occurred 33 years ago on July 3, 1981, with some of the earliest cases occurring in New York City. For most of those years, and continuing today, CFH has been on the forefront of fighting, diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS among our city’s unstably housed.