With our own budget cuts and mental health decapitations in Washington State, what is happening in New York is not uncommon nowadays. Mental health has always been on the long list of items not properly supported by the government on a state or federal level. Well, now it’s getting even worse.
Instead of blaming the cause of the addiction, isn’t it so much easier to blame the addict? Instead of working to correct the system, isn’t it just easier to fuss and moan over everything that’s wrong with it? Instead of looking an outcasted family member in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry that you’re homeless,” isn’t it just a little bit easier to ignore them and hope they will go away…somewhere where you won’t feel so guilty when you pass them? And, instead of putting funds where they are needed most – public schools, health care, mental health, homeless initiatives, research, and prevention – isn’t it just EASIER to throw the funds at an elegant new car and home for the select wealthy few?
Can you look at your child and explain the reasoning behind why the world is so cruel from the government down? When she asks…will you explain? Can you?
Is anyone else sick and tired and sick of being tired?
Check out what’s happening in New York now that I’ve gotten you all riled up.
Oh, and don’t give up. Not everyone feels the way I outlined above. I know I don’t.
The Ali Forney Center, New York City’s largest shelter for LGBT homeless youth, today called on Gov. Cuomo and the New York legislature to reject proposed funding cuts to homeless youth shelters.
According to The National Center on Family Homelessness, New York currently is the twelfth-worst state for youth homelessness, with over 45,000 homeless youth. New York State has funded programs through the Runaway Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) since 1978. This funding has made it possible for youth shelters to provide outreach, crisis intervention, case management, basic needs such as food and clothing, and many other services for homeless youth across the state. In 2007, the state was supporting services for approximately 70 programs with an appropriation of $6.8 million. Between 2007 and 2010, the amount was reduced 30 percent due to state budget problems, to the current $4.7 million. The budget agreement that was reached yesterday slashes that amount to $2.355 million. This brutal funding reduction will cause programs across the state to either cut their beds or shut down entirely, forcing thousands of homeless children out of shelters and into the streets.
LGBT youth, who make up 40% of the homeless youth population, would be disproportionately impacted by these cuts. Homeless LGBT youth are at significant risk of suicide, with 62% admitting having attempted suicide, and of HIV infection, with approximately 20% of NYC’s homeless LGBT youth currently infected with HIV.
“Balancing a budget by throwing poor children out of shelters to fend for themselves in the streets is unspeakably wrong,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. “It shows a reckless indifference to their safety and welfare. I call upon the Governor and the Legislature to overturn this outrage, and restore the funds for youth shelters. And I call on our community to speak out against these horrific cuts, and make certain our political representatives understand that this cruel and inhuman plan does not reflect the values of the citizens of New York State and of the LGBT community.”
The Ali Forney Center’s mission is to help homeless LGBT youth be safe and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. Too many of these youth are rejected by their families and the broader community, and are thus forced to survive on the streets, facing the dangers of violence, HIV infection and homophobia. AFC is committed to providing homeless LGBT youth with the services they need to thrive, including shelter, HIV prevention and vocational training. For more information, go to http://www.aliforneycenter.org.