I am happy to report that despite the recent Omicron surge, fewer than 3% of BCHS’ residents have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, while it is estimated that between 20%-25% of all NYC residents have been positive during this time. A heartfelt thanks to our frontline staff, agency leadership, and Board, and to all our supporters who have gone above and beyond to offer help.
Sadly, this is also a time when we have seen violent acts against homeless individuals increase significantly. The circumstance may vary, but these acts only happen when our City’s most vulnerable are seen as less than human, as “other.”
Too often the imagery associated with homelessness – huddled bodies slumped over on a subway car, or on a park bench – obscures the fact that each person who is homeless is a three-dimensional human-being with a rich inner life, with fears and hopes. They may be weighed down by trauma, or extreme poverty, or illness, but their resilience in the face of suffering is mighty.
At BCHS we also know that with just a little help, people who are vulnerable can heal and thrive. In fact more than 95% of the formerly homeless residents who come to us successfully maintain their housing with BCHS or move on to greater independence each year; these residents remain healthy, productive and engaged, and contribute to their community in myriad ways. For example, I think of William, who had been sleeping on the street for years before moving into our Oak Hall Building, and who now works as a supervisor for a well-known courier service in the City; and our former resident Samuel, who became a well-regarded artist after spending much of his adulthood cycling between shelter and jail before coming to BCHS.
The truth is, no one is born deserving to become homeless, and homelessness is not irreversible. And thanks to BCHS’ dedicated team and compassionate supporters and partners like you, nearly everyone who comes to BCHS lives with dignity and respect, and moves from crisis to community.
Pictured: Executive Director Jeff Nemetsky with our staff during this year’s grab and go Thanksgiving Lunch.