Saturday, April 17, 2010

Only one homeless man left in Times Square

While Rosanne Haggerty (Common Ground Community in NYC) was in Dallas for our annual prayer breakfast, she brought to our attention the following article that recently appeared in The New York Times.  The report points up the amazing impact of the development of permanent supportive housing on neighborhoods with a history of a high concentration of very poor and homeless persons. 

Developing housing for the homeless should not cause us fear.  To the contrary, such work should  inspire hope in everyone. 

We can end chronic homelessness in a city like Dallas, Texas. 

That fact is no longer in question. 

What remains very questionable is whether or not we've got the political will and the faith to move forward as a community to do exactly that. 

Here's the beginning of this must-read report:

Times Square’s Homeless Holdout, Not Budging
Published: March 29, 2010

Heavy, as he is known, is said to be the only person still living on the streets of Times Square.

As long as there have been homeless people sleeping in Times Square, there have been social workers and city officials trying to persuade them to leave.

The homeless man Heavy slept in a cardboard box on Sunday as a worker from the Times Square Alliance swept 48th Street.

In the past, the homeless were offered a free ride to one of the city’s warehouselike shelters. These days, workers for nonprofit groups help people move into apartments, keeping track as the number of the chronically homeless in Times Square goes down.

According to their records, by 2005, there were only 55. Last summer, it was down to 7.

Now there is one.

His name is Heavy, and he has lived on the streets of Times Square for decades. Day after day, he has politely declined offers of housing, explaining that he is a protector of the neighborhood and cannot possibly leave, the workers who visit him every day said.

Yet they are determined to get through to Heavy, the last homeless holdout in Times Square.

To keep reading click here.

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