Dr. Christina Greer (115266)
Dr. Christina Greer

I have been thinking about the unhoused population in New York City. It seems like no matter where you go in the city you see men and women of all ages living on the streets. Some ask for money or a hot meal, others sit quietly as New Yorkers of all walks of life shuffle by. I know I do that often myself, and feel like I could do more…I guess we all could. I think the struggle I and many others have is how to address this large institutional set of failures on the local, state, and federal levels. I also think about how so many of us are just one illness or one lost paycheck away from being in similar circumstances.

What Covid showed us was just how many New Yorkers were so close to being unhoused with the loss of employment. As I buy Girl Scout cookies from friends all across the U.S., I think of Troop 6000, the Girl Scout troop comprised of girl scouts who happen to be unhoused. Despite living in shelters, they are just like all other elementary, middle, and high school girls. They laugh, they’re kind and interesting, they want to try new things sometimes and other days they don’t. Troop 6000 has done so much to make sure these girls get the same Girl Scout experience as their peers from other neighborhoods and class brackets. 

New York Times reporter Nikita Stewart wrote a beautiful reflection on the troop contextualizing what they do for the girls and the larger institutions and systems in place that perpetuate this housing inequity. In her book, “Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World” she lays out an intricate portrait of their realities and we will never look at the unhoused in the same way. During this Girl Scout cookie season, I am reminded of the great work being done by the Girl Scouts on behalf of young girls across New York City.

So, what should be done to combat the larger housing problem? How do we get landlords and tenants and the city to come to the table to figure out equitable and affordable housing? How do we have an honest conversation about what “affordable” means in a city that in increasingly more expensive by the minute? I wish I had solutions, but I am confident that some members of the City Council are seriously thinking about these issues to help solve what has clearly become a city-wide crisis. 

Individuals and families who rely on the kindness of strangers need more than individual generosity, they need substantive laws to protect them. We must continue to pressure our elected officials to make affordable housing a priority for all. 

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an Associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and host of The Blackest Questions podcast at TheGrio. 

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Earn income while simply working online. Work from home whenever you want. Just for maximum 5 hours a day you can make more than $600 per day online. From this I made $18,000 last month in my spare time.
    Check info here———————>>>https://salarycash710.blogspot.com/

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *