Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HOMELESS YOUTH CENTERS ON THE CUT

It has come to my attention that New York State is about to lose it's moral center. I say this because while we sound the alarm about the looming budget crisis, we are pulling funding from programs that actually secure the health and safety of those who are most vulnerable.
 
Let me point out just one of the programs here. 
The Cuomo administration is looking to pull all funding for homeless youth centers. These would be the agencies that serve as our front line in defense to curtail the inevitable demise of what would otherwise be productive people. Whether they turn to a life of crime and/or government subsidy or worse yet, death by freezing, murder or suicide.
 
I bring this up because the recurring factor that reveals itself in most statistics regarding homeless youth is their sexual orientation. With numbers like 40% of the kids on the street either ran from a bad home situation or they tossed out like garbage by a guardian who deemed them unworthy for simply being born gay or lesbian.
 
The Ali Forney Center, located in New York City relies heavily on state funding to keep their doors open. It is just one of many centers in cities across the nation that are experiencing hard times. AFC however deals primarily with homeless gay & lesbian youth for the same reasons I pointed out above.
 
One of the clients, Raciel Castillo (pictured left) wrote a letter to the Governor to inform him of the impact such a cut would have on him and the others:
Governor Cuomo, I understand that you intend to end the funding from New York State to support youth shelter beds. This means that on July 1st, many of us will be put out of our shelter beds and be thrown out to the streets. I want you to understand that this will put our lives at risk.
 
It is hard to be a homeless kid, having nowhere to stay and feeling alone and unwanted. For me the worst part was feeling hopeless. I know a bunch of homeless gay kids who have told me that they considered suicide. People think it is just because of bullying in schools, but it is also because of being rejected by our families and forced to make it on the streets. One of my friends tried to throw herself in front of a subway. She said she was tired of being invisible. Thank god some of my friends were able to hold her back.

   
Governor Cuomo, I want you to understand how terrible things are for homeless kids. I want you to understand how mean and reckless it is to cut support for kids out on the streets. I have lots of friends who have nowhere safe to sleep. I know some who have to prostitute themselves just to have a place to sleep. Kids get beat up and hurt on the streets. The Ali Forney Center is named after a kid who was murdered on the streets.
Too many of us were thrown out by parents who refuse to care about us. Please Governor Cuomo, don't throw us away also.

With much thanks to fellow Blogger JOEMYGOD for much of this background, I would like to also offer this link: 
Please consider adding your name to this letter urging Cuomo to maintain this funding. You need not be a New York resident to raise your voice, because so many of New York City's homeless kids flee here from other states. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recently, you have commented on the centers that would be left hanging by a thread if their budgets are cut.SO perhaps you can make a recommendation of what could be cut? We have to cut the budget as we are facing a major deficit. Nobody will be left unscathed but it has to happen somewhere. How about no more earmarks for the next 2 years? Let the citizens make do with what they have for the next 2 years. We are throwing our money away by trying to stimulate business in NY. Until we get rid of crushing taxes and regulations we are heading no where. The latest census for NY should be a major wakeup call. Mike, I am asking you what would you do?. And get real. NY has been the major mecca for the down and out when it comes to human services. So much fraud along with those programs. Too many handouts with too little results. It is not sustainable. We cannot save everybody.

As you probably can tell, I just finished my tax (Fed & State)returns and again I have to pay after"giving" from each paycheck.

ashley said...

Thank you for sharing this. I worked with homeless youth for 2 years. These shelters and their programs are so important, not just to LGBTQ youth who are disproportionately affected, sadly, but to kids from all backgrounds AND to their families. Cutting this funding will be a huge detriment to all our communities.

Anonymous said...

Well, so far all we have heard from one segment of the political spectrum is cuts, cuts in worthy programs to offset the tremendous cuts made in taxes for the most wealthy.
While this country is fighting the culture war and pitting middle class against the silver spoons, people who are on the edge get left behind.
Do we think we don't pay for that on the backside in the way of social services? Avoidable health costs? Don't kid yourself.
Shifting the tax rate for the wealthy from 36% to 39% would not kill the economy. Yet it would make the state solvent, which of course eliminate the sense of urgency needed to slash what we call the New Deal. It's been the GOP dream since it's inception.
Bank of America paid $0 in taxes last year. Start by fixing the loopholes and you'll regain some of my respect.
Until then, I remind everyone that How we treat our weakest is a true test of who we are as a people.

Anonymous said...

What kind of society do we have when we keep giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and we can't fund shelters for homeless CHILDREN? Why is it such a hassle just to keep a roof over kids' heads. All of that time spent just trying to keep the basics covered could, and should, be used in actually IMPROVING these children's lives, not just maintaining them and not making them worse.

Walter

Anonymous said...

I think its remarkable that you find the time to work, attend meetings, blog and still manage to rake out the curbs of half of Washington Avenue.
Great job on Broadway by the way. Question is...why are you always solo? Why aren't people out there cleaning the city from Hurley Avenue to North Street? Is there no pride? Or did we outsource that too?

Anonymous said...

12:35 I have cleaned out the drains on my street but with the garbage blowing around Kingston, which always seems to end up by the gutters,I get behind on my chores of cleanup. a never ending battle. What a bunch of pigs live here! Yes, citizens need to have pride.