3 years ago1,000+ Views
All born and raised New Yorkers (aka from the city) understand the stereo-typical description of New York City. I blame Sex in the City, Gossip Girl and every single movie that takes place on these streets. New York has become a place to drool over, a place to make it, buy pizza by the slice, ride the subway, ignore/avoid the countless crazy homeless people on every street corner, party until 4 am.....

Wait... back up, what?

The idea of homelessness in New York City goes hand in hand with the dirty water hot dog venders only tourist pay full price for and bodegas that sell beer at 7 am. Does no one see the problem with that?
Homelessness is not something to romanticize about New York. In fact, homelessness needs to stop being considered a "fixture" of the New York skyline, thrown into every single article I read about "the beauty of making it in New York", and start being seen as an actual HUMAN problem.
Here are some basic facts taken from coalition for the homeless to inform you about the homeless population that has been tossed aside as an inevitable after thought for tourists, bright eyed newbie New Yorkers and New Yorkers alike:
- Homelessness has reached an all time high since the Great Depression.
- June 2015, there were 58,761 homeless people, including 14,031 homeless families with 23,692 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system.
- That staggering number only counts the people actually sleeping in homeless shelters. A recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.
- The large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems.
- Many suffer from drug addictions, yet those are habits hard enough to kick when you have financial, home, and family security. Try having nothing and then start judging.
The point that I am trying to make isn't that you should feel terrible. It is true, the homeless community is a huge part of New York City, but romanticizing it as an essential part of the New York City feel isn't ok.
No one pisses or sleeps on the streets because they want too. No one chooses to be homeless, especially in a city that has under-kept homeless shelters, not enough mental health facilities and freezing temperatures by the time Thanksgiving comes around.
So do me a favor when you come to New York City, to tour, to live, to work, or to just spend the day. See New York City for that it really is, a city with a wage gap that is almost painful and tens of thousands of people who just need a bit of human compassion.
Keep granola bars in your bag, give a dollar, or offer to buy them a meal.

Because Homelessness does not have to be a permeant fixture on our skyline, but human resilience and solidarity does.

@paulisaverage you pretty much explained exactly what i was trying to do here soooo hopefully you made sense to other people lol! homelessness is a serious problem that most people will not understand but can still help change if they actually opened their eyes and their hearts and realized what is being pushed aside into the "norm" category!
this is great. most of the time, the issue of homelessness in New York (or any major city for that matter) is something that is pushed to the side and hidden under the rug or, as you put it, romanticized. there's something more to be said about homelessness in America and how it contributes to people like me (as in, middle class, pretty okay, well off, probably, maybe) and our cultural consciousness. by writing this card and putting it at the forefront of our minds, maybe something -- or more importantly our perception of the homeless population -- can change. (not sure if i made any sense here, though)
@LizArnone -You're so right - here in Sydney we have a similar problem - it's sad to see how many people ignore or even worse make fun of the homeless. I honestly believe that we are all never further than one bad decision away from the streets. I can't imagine how horrific it must be to be on the streets in the dead of winter. A hot cup of coffee or soup means very little to most of us, but so much to them. Treat people with compassion and care - you never know what help you will need tomorrow.
@TessStevens its good to know that there are people like you giving whatever they can. I think just this summer alone going to and from work in the city ii spend over $300 bucks total and I don't regret any of it @alywoah i agree with you 100% no one likes their picture taken when their having a bad hair day, why would anyone what ti have their picture taken while their sleeping on the street. It just disgusts me that people seemed to have forgotten that homeless people are HUMANS who need our help, especially those with mental disorders.
I love this so much. Selflessness is such a huge problem in a city (and society in general) that seems very much accustomed to focusing on themselves and their own journey. I can't help but cringe when I hear or read some of the ways people talk about the homeless in New York. I'm right there with you on that.
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