Thursday, December 23, 2010

New York Children Caught in the Cycle of Poverty

When Children Are Caught in the Cycle of Poverty
Mascia, Jennifer. New York Times, Dec. 18, 2010.

The economic collapse has taken a toll on vast segments of society, but it has affected some groups disproportionately. Among those are children.

In New York City, 30 percent of children are living in poverty. One out of every five children relies on local food banks or pantries for sustenance, and of these children, 79 percent rely on the National School Lunch Program.

Poverty stymies performance in school and negatively affects mental and physical health, experts say. Poor children have higher rates of asthma, are more likely to suffer a higher rate of cognitive delays and developmental disorders.

Absent intervention, these children will face great difficulty in transcending the disadvantages of their early lives and, as adults, are likely to perpetuate a cycle of poverty that has consumed generations in areas like East New York, Brooklyn; Jamaica, Queens; Morrisania in the Bronx; East Harlem; and Port Richmond on Staten Island.

Such an outcome is not acceptable to advocates like Richard R. Buery Jr., president and chief executive of the Children’s Aid Society, who said, “Those who love our country, and believe in its ideals, cannot be satisfied until the promise of equal opportunity is made true for all of our children.”

Christmas Wish: No New York youth sleeping on the streets this winter

Kids shoudn't have to live on the street. Help us bring them inside. Donate.

Covenant House was founded 38 years ago with the mission to help homeless teens and young adults get off the street and into productive lives.

They serve as a refuge to:
  • young people who are running from abuse at home
  • youth who've been kicked out of the house (often because of their sexual orientation)
  • young people who "age out" of the foster care system at age 18 and face the adult world alone.
Covenant House connects these young people with:
  • Shelter, including a transitional housing program
  • Access to medical care
  • Coaching in basic life skills 
  • Opportunities to finish high school
  • Resources for job skill development
Staff work with youth on developing a long-term plan for their lives.

Covenant House's Transitional Housing Program: Youth pay rent to Covenant House for their apartment, and after 12-18 months when they graduate from the program, they are given ALL of their rent to help them to put a deposit on an apartment and set up a household.

My Christmas wish: No kid sleeping on the street this winter. Can you help Covenant House make it real? Donate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More than 4,000 vacant NYC condos could be made into low-income housing

The New York City chapter of the Right to the City Alliance has issued a report documenting the thousands of vacant condominium units in the city that could be converted into housing for individuals in need.

Funded by the Sociological Initiatives Foundation, the report, People Without Homes and Homes Without People: A Count of Vacant Condos in Select NYC Neighborhoods (72 pages, PDF), found that there are more than four thousand vacant condo units in nine New York City neighborhoods that could be made into low-income housing.

The report lays out several policy recommendations for the city's Department of Finance, the Empire State Development Corporation, the Mayor, and the City Council on how to covert and maintain the units as part of a broader effort to better serve the city's low-income individuals.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opening Doors to Higher Education for Youth in Foster Care

Opening Doors to Higher Education for Youth in Foster Care, from the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, addresses the financial aid reforms necessary for youth in care as they strive to attain a postsecondary education.

Monday, April 5, 2010

NY Proposed Legislation re: Immigrant Children in Foster Care

Dromm Bill Helps Immigrant Children In Foster Care
By John Toscano, Western Queens Gazette, March 31, 2010.

A bill that would require the city Administration for Children’s Services to create a plan to protect immigrant children in foster care and perhaps put them on the path to permanent status in the U.S. was passed by the City Council last week.

The bill, introduced by Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights), seeks to ensure that immigrant children who are eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) are identified as quickly as possible and are receiving all the appropriate benefits, Dromm who chairs the Immigration Committee, said.

Qualifying for SIJS, Dromm added, would enable undocumented children to apply for this status, become permanent residents and obtain a green card.

“Immigrant children deserve the same rights as everyone,” Dromm stated. “This bill will help children in ACS supervision get access to the immigration services they need. We must ensure that children who qualify are given the opportunities they deserve, including the ability to be put on a path towards citizenship.”

Dromm added that he was “proud to move this important bill which protects the rights of immigrant children in foster care”.

Without a dedicated plan for immigrant services, Dromm explained, once a young person turns 21, he or she become ineligible for SIJS status and also loses the opportunity to take full advantage of various services available to lawful U.S. residents.

Dromm, whose district is one of the most diverse in the city, pointed out that his legislation would result in an accurate and efficient identification and tracking system in order to coordinate immigration services that would most fully protect the rights of immigrant children.