In August 2014, I was invited to participate in a conference call, initiated by the city, concerning homelessness in our city. Our diocesan communications office issued a press release of my remarks on this topic (presented below). Thank you for your prayers and concern for those who have less than we do.
In view of the needs of the homeless in our city, we must recognize those less fortunate in our midst and encourage community leaders to engage in a process that will provide more affordable housing with proper supports for families.
Currently, there are 54,000 individuals living daily in 250 shelters across the five boroughs. Nearly half – 23,000 – are children. Of the total, one-third of those individuals work full-time, but lack sufficient income for housing independence.
The city is providing, by law, emergency homeless shelters for these individuals as a temporary solution to an immediate crisis. This crisis gives us an opportunity to advocate for more affordable housing for families and for additional government initiatives that prevent homelessness through rent subsidies.
I invite all of us, as Catholics who embrace the virtue of compassion, to pray for these homeless individuals and families and for those who work to create affordable housing units. The city is suggesting that we write our community boards and our local newspapers asking for compassion for those who have been displaced.
To locate your local community board, go to the NYC Community Affairs unit.