Check out the Health Department’s new mobile NYC Condom page: go to NYC.gov/condom on your smartphone.
“Of New York’s more than 40,000 homeless people in shelters — enough to fill the stands at Citi Field — about three-quarters now belong to families like the Lewises and are cloaked in a deceptive, superficial normalcy. They do not sleep outside or on cots on armory floors. By and large, their shoes are good; some have smartphones. Many get up each morning and leave the shelter to go to work or to school. Their hardships — poverty, unemployment, a marathon commute — exist out of sight.
Underlying this transition is a cascade of events, both economic and political. For the past three years, city officials say, 30 percent of New Yorkers seeking shelter have done so because of evictions, many connected to the financial crisis. (Domestic violence and overcrowding were other chief reasons.) At the same time, a disagreement over money between city and state officials last spring led to the cessation of a rent-subsidy program designed to shift the homeless from shelters into apartments. For the first time in 30 years, there is no city policy in place to help move the homeless into permanent homes.
Ms. Lewis, a health care aide, was evicted last month from her home in Far Rockaway, Queens. She was working full time for Able Health Care Services of New York, making about $500 a week tending to an autistic man. In August, because of cuts in Medicaid, her hours were reduced by half. Six weeks ago, she separated from her husband, Gregory Pitters, a maintenance man, who, before he lost his own job, earned $600 a week. On top of this, the $1,000 rent subsidy Ms. Lewis was receiving from the city, through the now-defunct program Advantage, ran out. Her apartment, a small two-bedroom, rented for $1,200 a month. She now makes $210 a week. She owes her landlord $4,280. The problem was mathematical, she said: ‘I can’t afford the rent.’ […]
At 40,000 people, New York’s shelter population is higher than it has ever been. (In 2001, when it hit 25,000, the city’s commissioner of homeless services was quoted in The New York Times as calling it “a temporary crisis.”) On any given night, 6,000 homeless men and 2,000 homeless women bed down in facilities for single people, and an additional 15,000 parents and 17,000 children sleep in family shelters. Then there are the individuals living on the streets whom the city counted last week in its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate. (The numbers will be available in March.)” - Alan Feuer
“There are roughly three New Yorks.
There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and turbulence as natural and inevitable.
Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night.
Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.”
— E.B. White, Here is New York
[photo via All Things Amazing, photographer unknown]
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Boy in New York City, 1948
From Esther Bubley: On Assignment