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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Homeless in the Bronx

This week's New York Magazine takes an intimate look at the faces behind the the Department of Homeless Services recent homeless count.

Particularly good (and sad) is the story of Nancy Quinn, a drug addict and prostitute, who for the past year has lived beneath an underpass in the South Bronx, next to the Bronx River.


  1. It is unfortunate that Robert Kolker’s article “A Night on the Street” did not effectively highlight the significant improvement in services directed at the most vulnerable inhabitants of New York City, the street homeless. There has been a great deal of progress in recent years in helping chronically homeless individuals get off the streets and directly into permanent housing. Since 2005, according to the most recent street count, the number of street homeless in New York City has declined by 25%. In the Bronx the numbers are even more dramatic; there has been a 52% reduction in the last three years. According to a recent report issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, the number of homeless people who die on the street has also sharply declined by 45% in the last couple of years. Across the City outreach teams are employing new and increasingly effective techniques. Indeed, two of the three individuals from the Bronx profiled in the article are now off the street and in housing.

    Once the chronically homeless move into permanent housing the overwhelming majority do not return to the streets. Addiction and serious mental illness are difficult problems to contend with and some setbacks are inevitable. Still, with the appropriate supports in place, about 85% of the chronically homeless individuals placed into permanent housing in the Bronx have remained housed. And we don’t give up on the few individuals who fail at their first attempt to move indoors and return to the street. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries before a placement sticks.

    Street homeless is an intolerable condition, both for the individuals living in public spaces and for the entire community as well. But the problem is solvable. With the right techniques, persistence, and dedicated outreach professionals, even those with the most intractable problems can be persuaded to come inside.

    Scott Auwarter
    Citizens Advice Bureau

  2. Does anyone knows what happened to Nancy Quinn since the story was ran. I am her mother and would do what ever I can to help her. She is lost and feels she has no where to go, but she does. She can come home to me, I live in Las Vegas and would like to see my daughter. Please can someone contact me my e-mail is www.fromero0418@hotmail.com. I am suffering knowing she is on the streets, Nancy if very education so to my conclusion it is the drugs have a strong hold of her. Is there a treatment center that can take her off the streets. Please let me know I am worry she will die on the streets. I love her very much and want her to come home.


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