Homelessness Counts

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Last night was the city's annual street survey of the homeless. WNYC's Coro Fellow Sophia Tu took part in the survey - she discusses what she saw. Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director at Coalition for the Homeless, surveys the state of homelessness in 2010 and what the Bloomberg administration needs to reduce the numbers. And Martin Covington, a homeless New Yorker who is taking advantage of the Coalition's services, discusses what the city can do for him and other homeless citizens.


Mary Brosnahan, Martin Covington and Sophia Tu

Comments [17]

M Freidlin from Park Slope

Dear Brian,
I am sure you have already received comments about the city closing a homeless facility in Prospect Heights for Bruce Ratner, Barclays, and their Russian oligarch partner.

This for sports and entertainment.

Setting aside all of the evidence of massive corruption, the fact that the New York City could not find the mercy to create a new facility to replace this one before it was closed for a parking lot, is something which must make every one of us feel ashamed.

Jan. 26 2010 11:02 AM
DMHB from Jackson Heights, NY

I've been working on this for a few weeks. This morning's segment inspired me to type it up.

This Woman

This woman who lives in the subway station –
Small, pale, white stringy hair, missing front teeth.
She’s too close to the ago of my mother,
And petite like her.

This woman, I’ve seen her
Crouching on a milk crate in the
Corner near the shop that sells
Coffee and bamboo plants,
A dank blanket wrapped around her shoulders.
This woman whose voice is like
Sandpaper, scraping,
Can I have a cigarette?
Whose heels protrude from
The backs of her sneakers.

I’ve seen her walking up the stairs
And I have crossed to the other side
To avoid her. I’ve seen her
Laughing, sipping from an 8 ounce bottle,
Brushing her stringy hair from her
Forehead, flirting.

How does a woman live in the subway station?

Was that her body snuggled in a sleeping bag
This morning, in the concrete corner?
Glad – if it can be called glad –
To be half protected from this January wind?

For a year and a half, I have seen this woman
Living in the subway station,
Noticed her even when trying
Not to notice her.
This woman who lives in the subway station.
She is too close to the age of my mother.

Jan. 26 2010 10:40 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Quite simply not enough is being done for the homeless, scary indeed being closed up in a subway car with the mentally ill, need to get them into a hospital and off the trains!!

Jan. 26 2010 10:37 AM
Randi from Brooklyn

I encounter homelessness every day. The number of homeless people on the trains is at an all time high. In fact, I was in the same car with a mentally ill homeless man today on the M train. Personally, I have put up an old friend who has nowhere to live.

Jan. 26 2010 10:31 AM
Phyllis Wrynn from Park Slope

Our billionaire mayor just forced a family homeless shelter to be shut down at the Atlantic Yards site so another billionaire...Ratner...can build his for-profit mega-development on the backs of taxpayers. The arena is completely subsidized! It is an outrage beyond measure that families will lose a shelter that was welcomed by the sign of NIMBY at all. It is an alternate universe that such unfairness can be allowed to happen.

Jan. 26 2010 10:31 AM
john from office

How would she deal with people who refuse help. Some homeless don't want help and the police are in a difficult position.

Jan. 26 2010 10:30 AM

I volunteered last night with the homeless count in Brooklyn. Me and two others scoured our area for homeless people and did find one that was bedded up for the night. Three thousand other people did this all over the city. If Mary really cares about homeless, why is she so dismissive of something that can helpful...Also she is saying inaccurate things. The H.O.P.E. census does count people on the subway. Volunteers checked stations and went to the last stop on subway lines to find the homeless.

Jan. 26 2010 10:29 AM
john from office

Brian, again you have people making statements that are not supported by facts. The guest seems to be bashing bloomberg, not offering solutions.

Jan. 26 2010 10:29 AM
tony from NYC

In the East Village it feels like numbers are up, but also that demographics have shifted-I see more variety of age, race and gender sleeping on the streets around here than 10 years ago.

Jan. 26 2010 10:27 AM
SteveR from Manhattan

So I see this is all about bashing Bloomberg. Got it.

Jan. 26 2010 10:26 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

I am extremely disturbed by the woman who just reported that she's seen a homeless woman with her children. I have never seen homeless children in this country, and I never thought I would. Can we really allow this to happen here?

Jan. 26 2010 10:24 AM

Homeless people in New York? I am shocked. I thought this was a gated community for the super rich.

Jan. 26 2010 10:23 AM

I manage a soup kitchen in east village. I do see the numbers going up and we have been ordering more food to feed the longer line. Guests who I haven't seen for many years started to come back last year with similar stories of losing their homes and jobs.

Jan. 26 2010 10:20 AM
Sam from NYC

While I haven't noticed a rise in street homeless, I have definitely observed an influx of panhandlers on the subway. I used to encounter panhandlers on a somewhat regular basis, now it seems that I encounter panhandlers almost every day.

Jan. 26 2010 10:18 AM
JT from NYC

I've definitely seen an increase in the street homeless population. I started noticing it around spring '09.

Jan. 26 2010 10:17 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Please explain the rationale behind surveying during the coldest month of the year and not checking for squatters and people in cars.
This survey seems designed to keep numbers artificially low.

Jan. 26 2010 10:14 AM
SteveR from Manhattan

How did the counters insure that the same homeless on the street were not counted more than once?

Jan. 26 2010 10:04 AM

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