NYC has nothing to teach about homelessness

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee explores the “myth” that the Big Apple has solved its problem of homelessness

By Cathy Crowe –

Toronto ~ Several homeless advocates travelled to NYC last week at the invitation of the Coalition for the Homeless to investigate the conditions for homeless people. They found that despite rumours to the contrary, homelessness exists and continues to grow.

The team will present their initial findings at a media conference:
Monday, October 23rd
Members’ Lounge, City Hall Council Chambers

Video footage of the trip will be shown, and various members will present highlights of their experience. A more in-depth forum detailing the results will be held later this fall.

“We have been told by media, as well as City of Toronto staff and politicians, that the ideal solution to solving homelessness exists in New York City. We wanted to see this utopia for ourselves,” said Tanya Gulliver, Coordinator of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee and one of the study participants.

“Instead of solutions we found overcrowded shelters, overnight drop-ins that consist of a chair to rest in, extensive hunger and a massive housing shortage. People laughed when we said we had heard that NYC had solved its homeless problem,” she added.

The team spent two days in NYC visiting various emergency and housing programs, as well as heading out on evening outreach vans. Additionally, one team member spent a week in a women’s homeless shelter in Queens to further her knowledge and understanding of the issue.

“What we found was a homeless disaster; the same as we have here,” said Bob Rose, who represented the Toronto Drop-In Network on the study trip. “Homelessness is more hidden in NYC but it is extensive, pervasive and quite likely about to explode into an extreme crisis situation once again.”