On Friday, members of Robin Hood’s Teen Council visited Common Ground’s Prince George residence on East 27th Street to provide education and awareness about their street outreach program as well as their transitional and permanent supportive housing programs.
Homelessness in New York City is at record levels. Every night 53,200 people sleep in New York City shelters. Shelters, while necessary in providing temporary housing, are not a long term solution for the homeless.
Common Ground’s staff opened the meeting by explaining:
“We are all really just one life event away from becoming homeless; 77% of Americans are 1 or 2 paychecks away from being homeless.”
To help demonstrate this statement, they led the teens in an exercise, “Step Across the Line.” The teens were asked a question and had to step over the line if they know someone who had experienced a given issue. Questions included: Do you know someone who has been separated from their family? Suffers a mental illness? Suffers from substance addiction? Has no health insurance? With many teens stepping over the line, they left with a better understanding of how a family or individual can find themselves homeless.