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Too many children are homeless in the Capital Region

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By Russell Oliver

11/3/15


The truth about homelessness is that it’s becoming a major issue in New York state. The number of homeless people has been notably increasing over recent years for the state overall.

Homelessness isn’t just a problem for adults. During the 2013-14 year, 2,000 school-age children were without homes in the Capital Region, as reported from data compiled at New York’s Education Department. This information takes into account children living in motels, shelters or staying with other people, along with those who don’t have any place to stay.

“From New York to Buffalo, homelessness has been on a trajectory that’s unsustainable,” William Gettman Jr., the executive director of St. Catherine’s Center for children, said in a 2014 Times Union article.

The amount of children without homes has been increasing over the past five years, according to data from the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center. There were 90,596 children identified as homeless in the years 2010-11 in the state. By the next year the number jumped to 98,174, and by the last recorded year on the website, 2013-2014, the number had climbed to 116,847 children without homes in New York.

Overall in New York the amount of children who are considered homeless has doubled in a five-year span. It’s sad that we live in a state (and country) where child homelessness is becoming a major issue. This is a problem that we must actively try to prevent from getting worse. There are a number of things that New York can to do decrease the amount of homeless people out there.

The Coalition for the Homelessness is a New York-based organization dedicated to helping homeless men, women and children. It says that permanent housing assistance is less expensive than shelter or institutional care. These successful programs can come from federal housing assistance or from permanent supportive housing, which both provide long-term housing options for the homeless.

The Coalition also mentions that making sure homeless people and families can maintain their new housing is crucial, as many homeless people are often unable to have stability in these situations. Eviction-prevention grants are one way to allow new tenants the ability to pay their rent so that they don’t get evicted and become homeless again.

Another way to prevent this is to provide low-income families and people with housing lawyers that they can afford.

There are many other things that can help decrease homelessness in our state. Raising the minimum wage will help low-income families afford their expenses. Career programs for low-income and homeless people are crucial, as many of these people need jobs. Also, just a general awareness of homelessness and its increasing numbers should make people want to contribute and volunteer to prevent it from worsening. All of these suggestions would help out, but programs that get people into houses are the most beneficial to the issue.

Albany has many homeless shelters available for those in need.

The Capital City Gospel Mission is a non-profit charity located on South Pearl Street. Its mission is to proclaim the teachings of the Gospel and Jesus Christ to the needy and homeless in the Capital Region. It provides a cleansing of the “body, mind, and spirit” so that the people who come through its doors can rejoin society as a mature Christian citizen.

“I was homeless in Albany and addicted. Now I’m a sinner saved by God’s read,” a person named Bobby said on the Capital City Gospel Mission’s website.

Another option is the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society of the Capital Region, which has two locations on Central Avenue and State Street. Both are open 24 hours a day to make sure someone has a place to stay. They welcome homeless families and their children, teen parents, and youths to their shelters.

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