Campaign Targets Thousands of Homeless
1 year ago
New York, New Orleans part of program to house 100,000
Brownsville, Brooklyn occupies a dark, if not ruthless place in the imaginations of many thanks to a number of hardcore rappers and athletes who hail from there. Mike Tyson, Zab Judah, Riddick Bowe, most of the Boot Camp Clik and the Mash Out Posse all call the public-housing-inundated neighborhood home.
There are also thousands of Brownsville locals who have no place to call home. According to recent Census data, it’s one of the largest communities in the nation for not just individuals but whole families who are homeless. Due to it's disproportionate rates, the majority African-American neighborhood has been the target of Community Solutions, a homeless prevention organization. The revitalization of Brownsville is largely due to the pioneering of Brownsville community groups, who enlisted the help of Community Solutions making the tiny square mile hood a bright spot in the ongoing fight against homelessness.
A little over a year ago, Community Solutions launched the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which as its name implies, seeks to place 100,000 people in housing by July 2013. Their method is to not just randomly house any person deemed homeless -- a lot of people are only recently out on the streets due to the recession and the foreclosure crisis. Instead, 100,000 Homes’ strategy is aimed at the most vulnerable -- people who’ve been homeless for years; people on the verge of dying.
To help determine who exactly are the most vulnerable -- the people with the least financial, social and health security in the streets -- local groups across the nation were recruited to conduct surveys with homeless people. In the surveys, individuals were asked questions like how long have they been living on the streets, what health problems have they had, how many times had they been to the emergency room, and had they been imprisoned.
The answers from these surveys, including demographic data, were gathered not only for aggregation, but also to create composites of what homelessness looks like not only nationally, but in dozens of major cities and neighborhoods.
In their one-year report, released in July, the statistics showed grim conditions among the homeless.
A quick glimpse of what was learned from 18,778 homeless people interviewed:
• Of those surveyed, the average number of years homeless is 4.75; for vulnerable individuals, 5.71 years;
• 2,760, or 14.7% of the homeless surveyed are veterans;
• 45% of those surveyed suffer a mental illness and 57.4% suffer from substance abuse; meanwhile, 32.1% suffer from both;
• Two-thirds had been in jail before;
• Almost 30% had been the victim of a violent attack; though almost 40% had no health insurance.