NYS STILL FALLS SHORT ON HOMELESS YOUTH

April 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you for this article (“Homeless Youth Funding Grows Slightly,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 11-24) –– except for the title; it’s hard to see this as even slight funding growth when the Runaway Homeless Youth appropriation has been cut nearly 70 percent in the last three years. It is heartbreaking that New York State has so harshly and disproportionately slashed funding that provided critical shelter and services for homeless and runaway youth. It is hard to imagine services more deserving of support.

Patrice Kellett

April 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you for once again being one of the only publications in New York that covers issues of importance for homeless youth. Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, a statewide consortium of programs for homeless youth, like the Campaign for Youth Shelter, worked tirelessly to educate our elected officials about the harm their budget cuts have caused homeless youth. Way before the release of Governor Cuomo's budget in January, Empire State Coalition members were at the Governor's office, as well as the offices of Assemblymember Amy Paulin, Senator Diane Savino, and others to ask that they work on immediate restoration of at least half of the 50 percent cuts suffered in 2011. Not only have critical services been lost because of those cuts, but programs are seeing more youth despite loss of staff and beds.

I am not sure who Assemblymember Paulin is referring to when stating “… legislative advocates for homeless youth were ‘somewhat gratified’ by the governor’s decision in his original budget proposal to hold RHY funding ‘harmless’ — by maintaining last year’s baseline.” In fact, we were clear that maintaining the funding at $2.3 million for all of New York State would be devastating for homeless youth, and it is. The $215,000 for a program that serves well over 20,000 homeless youth each year spanning 27 of New York’s counties, is insulting to those youth. They deserve better, much better.

Margo Hirsch

Executive director Empire State Coalition

Brooklyn

Editor’s note: The article should have made clear that the “gratified” advocates Paulin referred to were members of the Legislature.

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