September 7, 2023

Save Homes Today to Keep Children in School for Safe Homes Tomorrow

As children throughout NYC prepare to go back to school, more than 28,000 of them are experiencing homelessness and are living in shelters. A further 325,000+ are in homes in arrears and at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Most NYC homelessness is invisible to most people as NYC homelessness is primarily a story about women and children of color, disproportionately hurt by domestic violence, evictions and overcrowding in a city with a dearth of housing assistance.

Mirroring the NYC shelter population and New Yorkers at risk of homelessness demographics, the majority of our clients are women and children of color, and are living in the lowest income neighborhoods, including the South Bronx, Inwood, Harlem and parts of Central Brooklyn and East New York.

Liza from Inwood is an example of the families accessing The Partnership’s services:

Toward the end of May 2023, Liza, who is living with her two children in Inwood, northern Manhattan, came to The Partnership seeking financial assistance for an arrears bill of $3,800. Liza works for minimum wage and had already spent the little savings she had to keep up with her rent.

Liza and her children had been in the shelter system once before, and she was distraught when she told us that she was trying to make sure the family did not go back into a shelter. The family’s previous displacement had been traumatic for the children and caused them to miss many days of school. Additionally, because the children were still in school and daycare in Brooklyn — where they had originally lived before going into shelter — Liza was finding it impossible to manage the commute and find employment that would accommodate her schedule and provide sufficient income to meet her rent and other basic expenses.

To immediately safeguard the family home, our Housing Team contacted Liza’s landlord and processed and settled the arrears case. Simultaneously, the Health & Well-being Team provided case work to ensure long-term stability for Liza. Based on Liza’s wish, our Client Services Manager contacted partner organizations and successfully connected both of Liza’s children to programs (school and daycare) close to her home in Inwood.

Removing the arrears and commute barriers has freed Liza to focus on her employment and mental health needs. We are providing ongoing services, including access to our mental health program and referrals for employment search support and career development.

Homelessness is a corrugating trauma that traps women and their children in poverty and homelessness for generations. Going into a shelter can cause significant disruptions to work and school schedules, and less than half of all children who go into shelter graduate high school, putting them on a fast track to the kind of poverty that puts them at risk of homelessness as adults with their own children.

Prevention is the most humanitarian solution to break the cycle of intergenerational homelessness. The Partnership’s upstream interventions prevent homelessness by combining housing, crisis and education services with health and well-being services. Central to our strategy is our multi-year Save Homes Campaign, our housing program (which provides rental and financial assistance) addresses immediate crisis and ensures clients keep their homes and children stay in school. Thereafter, our mental health and well-being services address the complex trauma our clients endure, providing adequate and culturally-appropriate mental health care and stabilize clients in their homes long-term. This combination better equips clients to succeed in future programming, education and employment.

Keeping children housed prevents the trauma of homelessness and the loss of school and community that often follows the loss of home and by doing so, disrupts and prevents intergenerational homelessness.

Join us to keep children in their homes and in school. If you can, donate to our Save Homes Campaign.

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