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Fidler on Runaway and Homeless Youth

“It is a statistical fact that tonight 3,800 children WITHOUT their families will be homeless on the streets of NYC tonight. Over the past 9 years that I have chaired the Council’s Youth Services Committee, I have conducted over 18 hearings on the issues relating to Runaway and Homeless Youth. We have managed to increase the numbers of shelter beds and street outreach programs to find these youth—the most vulnerable of the vulnerable—to a point where the budget for RHY has reached $12 million. Yet HUNDREDS of these children remain on the street without shelter. For example, at the Ali Forney Center, over 100 kids are on the list for shelter without a bed available. Tonight. In the cold. Worse yet, of these 3,800 kids, a statistical study/survey that was recently conducted with the assistance of Columbia University will show that 185 of them will admit to having spent the prior night involved with some sort of sex work. That does not include those who will stay alive thru survival sex. We are talking about children as young as 13 or 14.

The Bloomberg Administration has included a PEG of $2 million in their November Plan directly against this program, decimating the programs, jeopardizing their existence and virtually wiping out street outreach.

Last fall, right before the General Election, Mayor Bloomberg announced the creation of a commission on LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth. (Approximately one third of all RHY identify as LGBTQ.) This past summer DYCD issued the Commission’s report, one recommendation of which was the expansion of the capacity of the RHY shelter bed system. Another was a series of boro wide community forums discussing the issues. Ironically, in the middle of these forums—the last one in Manhattan was held last night—the $2 million PEG was announced.

The following is a link to my comments at the Brooklyn forum which was recently held. At the time, I had been led to believe that the cut was only $569k, not the cut of $2 million. I urge you to watch the clip. (It starts a bit slowly, but the rest will speak for itself.)

In this holiday season, I am urging your paper to cover the issue. Remember, we are talking about children who have been denied a loving environment and the protection of a safe bed and home in the one place where every child ought to have one—in their home. They are often on the street as a result of physical, sexual or emotional abuse at home from someone who ought to have been a loved one. Go home, Hug your child….and think about this story.

I am available at any time or at any place to discuss the plight of these children. My City Hall office is 212-788-7286. My district office is 718-241-9330.

Happy Holidays,

Lew Fidler
Asst. Majority Leader-NY City Council
Youth Services Committee, Chairperson

5 comments to Fidler on Runaway and Homeless Youth

  • Bugg

    This should be a municipal priority.

    And to that end, here’s some suggestions to save money for worthy programs and agencies:

    Cut completely CCRB, the Civil Rights Commission, all cultural programs and all 5 boro presidents. If you cannot cut the DC37 workers in these agencies move them elsewhere. Demand great manager Cathy Black immediately cut staff 10% at the Tweed Courthouse and return at least one half of teachers there assigned to classrooms. End or curtail drastically the program that digs up otherwise perfectly good streets and disrupts lresidents’ ives for weeks. Cease all funding to programs like those of Vito Lopez.

    And put a 5-year limit on welfare as Washington DC has just done. Drug test recepients as well.

    If anyone else has any suggestions, add them here.

    We’re broke. Are mayor Moneybags and the City Council ever going to prioritize?

    • bitbybit

      How about looking into the assets owned by those on public assistance? Why is it that there seem to be more high end cars by the Nostrand houses than there are in the surrounding areas? If you can afford a luxury SUV you should be able to pay rent. Another thing it the high end cell phones, cable tv and the like. This wonderful nation is free, as in free speech not free lunch. If you are paying your own way you should have the luxury of spending your money any way you choose. If you are relying on the redistribution of wealth for your basic necessities you should not be spending on unnecessary and / or luxury items.

  • fidlersucks

    FIDLER NEEDS TO SHUT UP!!! He is so full of crap!! I am no big fan of Bloomberg but Fidler is the top paid councilmember in ther council. He makes something like $2 million outside of the council in a private business. How about allocating your personal funds to the program FIDLER?!!?

    • LQuinlan

      How much Lew Fidler earns outside of City Council is really nobody’s business. What counts is the good he’s done for his constituents and no one listens to his district or makes himself more available than Lew. There is rarely a community board or civic meeting that he doesn’t attend and he’s the first to sign on when the community needs back-up. His staff has always been efficient and responsive when I call with a problem.

      Homeless youth is society’s problem, not Lew Fidler’s. He’s just their voice.

  • JP Zenger

    It is a tragedy that youth have to suffer this way. I am a TransGender woman , male to female. I was lucky that I was not thrown out of my house when I came out to my parents when I was a teen.

    There are lots of young people who are not so lucky.

    There was one situation (True) where a young (male to female) person was taken on a drive with her father. He asked her to get out of the car to get him some cigarettes. While she as in the store he drove away. While they were driving, the father, an educated man, had the locks on his house changed. She wound up on the street selling her body to survive. The last time I saw her she had suffered a mental breakdown.

    Is this the way children or any human who is different should be treated?