“Nobody Should Ever Feel the Way that I Felt”: A Portrait of Jay Toole and Queer Homelessness

by Áine Duggan For the Scholar & Feminist online.

Jay Toole, director of the Shelter Project at Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), hero in the queer community, and legend in the NYC homeless shelter system, knows more about queer homelessness than anyone else in the city, and probably the country. Of medium height and build; hair sheared short to reveal the shape of her head and strong identification as butch; sporting an informal uniform of t-shirt, cargo pants and sneakers that epitomize her direct and no-barriers approach; Jay is quick to laugh, flirt, and let you know if your words sound like meaningless policy banter. Her focused energy blends with an easy-going playfulness and what I consider to be a truly unique love of people. Jay is thoughtful, warm, empathetic, inclusive, and generous with her time. She is better about staying in touch than anyone else I know in NYC; she believes in community and readily embraces community-building technology from Facebook and Myspace to Twitter and texting. And, at age 61, she just as eagerly wraps her arms around the latest in toys—an afternoon tucked away with her Playstation and Wii serves as ideal downtime.

But on this early Saturday morning in July sitting by the open kitchen window of the rent-stabilized apartment I share with my partner, Jay looks very tired and uncertain. We both know the gentle, warm breeze and peaceful surroundings will be short-lived. In a matter of hours the temperature gauge will soar and Jay’s cell phone will begin to burn a hole in the ozone as texts and calls pour in from the underbelly of the queer community. Across the city queers will be reaching out, all desperate to connect with the resource they know as Superbutch, and all of whom have one thing in common: They are poor. “You have to keep a hand out there,” Jay explains, “because someone will always reach for it.” The work of organizing support groups and training workshops for queer residents of the NYC homeless shelter system since 2004 has positioned her as the main and sometimes sole resource for queers who struggle with all aspects of homelessness and poverty. Jay paused, cutting short the last drag on her cigarette, her eyes snapping clear in a weave of urgency and love: “There are thousands of us in the shelters, and no one really knows, the community doesn’t really know, and people need help.” Throughout the country there are varying systems of homeless shelters and temporary housing, but NYC is the only location where a legal right to shelter exists.[1] Currently, the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) directly runs or administers under contract more than 200 shelters serving thousands of people each day within two main categories of homeless people: single adults and families.[2]

QEJ’s Shelter Project

The work of the Shelter Project at QEJ is focused on the single adult shelter system. Jay notes their accomplishments of the past five years with quiet pride, starting with the victory for homeless transgender people. It was a protracted process that involved building coalition with and securing the public support of other LGBT organizations; meeting with directors and staff at numerous shelters; meeting with local government leaders and representatives repeatedly; and it eventually resulted in the piloting of a transgender policy that provides homeless individuals of trans experience the right to self-determined placement through either the men’s or women’s side of the shelter system.[3] While acknowledging the policy is just a first step in addressing the particular safety concerns that face homeless New Yorkers of trans experience, Jay notes: “We need to do more to let people know this policy exists. There should be notices posted in every shelter in the system because there are still so many trans people who are placed in shelters where they are not safe, and they don’t know they can choose.” Jay views the process as a win, both for trans homeless rights and for the broader queer community. This was an example of creating a campaign about an aspect of queer poverty and facilitating its development to include some of the mainstream queer organizations.

Similarly, QEJ had a major victory with regard to homeless domestic partners. In 2007, QEJ and collaborating organizations celebrated when New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) reinstituted and formalized a policy allowing couples registered as domestic partners to secure emergency shelter as families in the same way as married couples. In addition to being a major step forward and a great victory for the collaborative effort between the antipoverty and queer communities, the negotiations illustrated the type of insight and leadership QEJ could provide. The problem initially surfaced when DHS changed a long-standing policy of accepting domestic partnership certificates as proof of family. When challenged, the administration offered a compromise position of accepting domestic partnership certificates from same-sex couples only (as an acknowledgement of the inability of same-sex couples to legally marry). QEJ stood firm with a coalition of queer and antipoverty organizations until the policy was amended to provide for all families. Consequently, the new policy grants “family status” to homeless adults who have other family relationships (e.g., grandparent and grandson or granddaughter; siblings) who have resided together for six of the previous twelve months (thus expanding recognition of “family” beyond merely couples). For more than two years, QEJ led a coalition of organizations to work on this issue—work that would never have had to be done if, over a decade earlier, gay activists had thought to include the Department of Homeless Services on the list of city agencies covered by the domestic partnership laws they were then creating. But at the time that the historic domestic partnerships were being created in NYC, homelessness was forgotten (as it all too often is by the LGBT community), so QEJ had to work for years to get the DHS added to a law that had already governed other city agencies for years.

This campaign to ensure homeless queer couples have the right to stay together in the shelter system provided an opportunity to involve some mainstream queer organizations. It necessitated an exploration and unraveling of NYC’s domestic partnership policy, which Jay considers an advancement of queer rights both within and outside the queer community. “When the domestic partnership policy was initially negotiated, nobody from our community even thought about homelessness and what it could mean for homeless queers. So this gave our own community leaders a chance to make up for leaving people out.”

While acknowledging that such policy victories have the potential to help countless homeless queers, Jay is more proud of other things. She does not miss a beat when she declares that the number one accomplishment of the shelter project is the development of support groups for queers in the shelter system. During the past five years Jay and her team of volunteers have organized approximately 70 support groups in 35 shelters and hosted several “know your rights” training workshops for shelter residents at QEJ. Approximately 1,600 discrete individuals have attended support groups or training workshops. The groups are facilitated by volunteers but run collectively. The shelter residents determine the main agenda of every meeting and regularly communicate to Jay and QEJ volunteers how important the groups are. “So many times,” observes Jay, “I have heard people say, ‘This is the first time that I am able to say who I am and this group helped me to be able to do that.’” She feels strongly that the basic sense of safety and unity the groups provide facilitate what is often the first experience of queer community for queer shelter residents.

Jay definitely feels the pressure of being thought of as a resource for queer homeless people:

It’s scary: Am I giving the right advice, giving people what they really need, making the right connections? I always tell people that I cannot get them housing, and I tell all the volunteers to do the same, but we can do a lot. We can help connect people back to whatever community they need to be with: queer, religious, family, or friends. I can’t not answer my phone. I feel so guilty when I turn off my phone at night. I have no social life. All I ever do is talk about the work I do in the shelters. And when I hear other people talking about the work of QEJ, they are always talking about my work in the shelters and it’s a lot of pressure. I feel like I always have to be on.

Who Counts? Queer Poverty

But Jay emphasizes that handling the phone calls is not nearly as frustrating as coping with what she perceives as deliberate blindness to poverty within the mainstream queer community. “Why is this great queer community that is supposed to be representing all of us and taking care of all of us not focusing on homelessness? Why are they only focused on gay marriage? I don’t remember getting a memo to check off what I wanted on the agenda, and there are thousands out there on the streets and in the shelters that I’m pretty sure didn’t get that memo either.” She believes the denial of poverty and homelessness in the queer community is similar to a historical denial about substance use and mental health needs: “It took a long time for the community to respond to addiction and mental illness, and today it is taking too long for the community to wake up to the reality of poverty.” The dearth of data is a key factor and one that Jay understands as an obstacle to her work. There is no research that would allow for quantifying the problem of queer poverty and insofar as data helps determine the allocation of public and private resources, no numbers is equated with no need, no problem, no resources, no community, no organizing, no solution, and no change. Despite the 2007/2008 recession that legitimized and mainstreamed concern about poverty, as a media frenzy zoomed in on stories about the new poor—the middle-income families falling short on mortgage payments and struggling to pay for basic necessities like housing and food—stories from the queer community remained untold. A fever-pitched numbers game ensued in other communities. Every media outlet wanted to tell the new story of need; inquiries about new data flooded in to nonprofit organizations working on poverty related issues; and nonprofits, in turn scrambled to produce fresh statistics. All that mattered was capturing and detailing demographics of increasing need as every organization sought to draw in extra resources for the populations they serve. Of course, missing from these stories was the queer perspective. Without baseline data and a systematic method for tracking trends our community is ill-equipped to discuss the impact of the financial crisis and queer poverty remains an invisible issue.

Our understandable preoccupation with maintaining anonymity and privacy as measures to protect us from discrimination ironically serves to closet and disappear the most vulnerable among us. Lack of recognition means that poor queers are reliant on existing institutions for services—institutions that are frequently hostile environments for people in our community, from the basic denial of individual identity when people are not allowed to use their preferred names on government-issued identification to harassment and abuse of queer individuals within the shelter system. In short, queer poverty disappears through the crack between the queer and antipoverty communities. While the queer community was not addressing poverty issues, the antipoverty community was not addressing queer issues.

This dangerous invisibility resonates with Jay. During her own time in the homeless shelter system she was subject to daily discrimination. Jay felt disempowered and disrespected by the staff’s insistence on using her official name, “Judith,” being told that it was not appropriate for her to mention her partner or the fact that she is a lesbian in therapy groups, and how to dress and behave gender-appropriately for housing appointments. On the darker end are the bathroom attacks, the beatings and name-calling: elements that make it that much harder for queers to put the pieces of their lives back together again. “If you have to constantly watch your back as a queer person in the shelter system, how can you move on? How can you think about getting a job or housing if you’re constantly looking out for people [fellow shelter residents or staff] who want to attack you?” Sadly, Jay was not surprised by this lack of recognition; it was in keeping with the invisibility and denial she had already endured in her own family and community. Jay’s story of homelessness began where so many such journeys do: Her childhood home was an unsafe environment and in a bid to escape she fell into unsurprising pain-suppressing activities. Years of alcohol and substance use led to inevitable homelessness and being queer contributed to her long stay on the streets, as she feared for her safety in the homeless shelter system. But, she recounts feeling disowned by the queer community when she was asked to move along from sleeping “safely” outside recognized gay establishments in the West Village.

Beyond Equality, Our Present Poverty

Many of the broad lived experiences of queer individuals including poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental health, hunger, and aging are missing from the annals of queer history, popular culture, and current debate; and continue to be omitted from the queer agenda. But mainstream research indicates we should be paying more attention.

Despite the reality that issues like homelessness, hunger, lack of access to education, and unemployment have many complicated roots, the primary cause is economic: specifically it is the lack of economic justice that holds an increasing majority of people in the jaws of poverty. Census data showing that more than 37 million US residents (one in eight) live at or below the federal poverty line (slightly more than $18,000 per year for a family of three),[4] only begin to touch on the level of need that saturates communities around the country. There is broad agreement that the current federal poverty measure, which fails to account for realistic living costs such as housing, is antiquated[5] and fails to account for factors such as geographical differences in the cost of living (including high housing costs) and debt.[6] Indeed, the practice of setting eligibility criteria for federal assistance programs at varying percentages of poverty at least demonstrates government recognition that the poverty measure is problematic, and research conducted by Columbia University has shown that families throughout the United States need an income of about twice (200 percent) the federal poverty level to meet basic needs.[7] Insufficient earnings and fixed incomes (such as Social Security) are primary factors. For example, even in New York City where the minimum wage ($7.25 as of July 2009[8]) is set at a higher level than the federal minimum wage, the annual gross earnings for a minimum wage full-time worker in New York City (working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks) is only $15,080, well below the federal poverty level for a family of three. As the National Coalition for the Homeless describes, “Declining wages, in turn, have put housing out of reach for many workers: in every state, more than the minimum wage is required to afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.”[9] For the majority of families and individuals, housing factors as the single greatest basic living cost. Nationwide almost half (46 percent) of all renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent.[10]

Jay is aware of the implications for queers as she notes the high number of youth who are set adrift without the benefit of even the most basic education standards and subsequently become trapped in minimum-wage employment without the hope of career advancement. She also highlights the employment obstacles that face those of us who do not “pass,” explaining that people of trans experience and gender-nonconforming community members face discrimination in the workplace and are often forced to rely on minimum wage jobs or unofficial employment. Jay’s insight sheds light on how the range of issue-based causes for homelessness and poverty are in part driven by economic factors and disproportionately affect the queer community.
Effects of Poverty

Mental illness, substance use, prison history, domestic violence, and youth aging out of the foster care system are recognized causes of homelessness. The single adult system is utilized by three sets of users: chronic, episodic, and transitional short-term users. Chronic and episodic use is often associated with psychiatric disability, substance abuse, and prison history, while transitional short-term use is often associated with temporary unemployment.[11] According to a study by the US Conference of Mayors in 2005, approximately 16 percent of the homeless population suffers from a mental illness.[12] In 2006, the National Coalition for the Homeless reported that the average rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment ($715 per month), amounted to 113 percent of an individual’s supplemental security income. The Community Mental Health Act of 1963, which set the stage for the mass release of long-term psychiatric patients from state hospitals into single room occupancies (and referred to community health centers for treatment and follow-up), was a pivotal measure in the explosion of homelessness, as a wave of homeless individuals living with mental illness without support systems and services very quickly saturated the streets of NYC and other urban centers.

Given the recent history of classifying homosexuality as a mental illness and the practice of committing queer individuals to mental institutions prior to the 1963 change, it is likely that a disproportionate number of queers were washed on to the streets in this wave of new homelessness. In addition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “most research suggests that GLBT people are likely to be at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. One study found that GLBT groups are about two-and-one-half times more likely than heterosexual men and women to have had a mental health disorder, such as those related to mood, anxiety, or substance use, in their lifetime […]. The reason for these disparities is most likely related to the societal stigma and resulting prejudice and discrimination that GLBT face on a regular basis, from society at large, but also from family members, peers, co-workers and classmates.”[13] Jay’s anecdotal evidence as to who comprises the queer homeless shelter resident population reinforces these findings and reemphasizes the need for data: “substance use and mental illness feature for a good percentage of queers in the shelter system. It does appear to be more women, and there are a lot of trans, youth, and older people.”

In the sea of data about need and poverty there is growing acknowledgement of new economic indicators. Chief among them is data that relate to food poverty and hunger. Applying a food poverty lens illustrates both the magnitude of and the urgency for prioritizing the problem on every community’s agenda. Throughout the nation, people who struggle to make ends meet are faced with impossible basic living expense choices: rent, medical costs, or food.[14] Typically, food is sacrificed for the sake of keeping a roof over one’s head. Throughout the country, the majority of people who access services at soup kitchens and food pantries live in rented accommodation.[15] Escalating living costs makes it impossible for an increasing number of people to afford all the basics. For example, from 2003 to 2008 basic living costs in the New York metro area increased as follows: food by 22 percent, fuel and utility by 54 percent, housing by 23 percent, medical care by 19 percent, and transportation by 22 percent. During the same time period the number of New Yorkers having difficulty affording food doubled from approximately 2 million in 2003 to approximately 4 million (in November 2008).[16]

During Jay’s time on the street, hunger was a constant companion:

Soup kitchens were how Sheila [Jay’s partner for the past two decades] and I survived. We used to stand on line at a soup kitchen in Midtown every day. And the lines were not as long then as they are now. And today it’s people from every walk of life: men, women, young, old, children, people in suits, and the line goes on and on. I don’t know what people would do without that place. We got on that line because we were hungry—it wasn’t to socialize, it was because of a very basic need, we were that hungry and we knew we would get a lot of food, no questions asked. When I was really sick, weighing about 94 pounds, Sheila used to hold me up and carry me, and one day we were on the line and outreach workers came to talk to me. They had a doctor talk to me and they explained to me that I was going to die unless I went into a shelter. They talked me into going into one of the assessment shelters and they helped me to get into the program shelter that ultimately helped me to turn things around. Sheila was not on the streets, she was in a shelter. I tried really hard to make sure Sheila was never on the streets.

Jay highlights a vital point. Because food poverty casts a larger net than other aspects of poverty, the emergency food system often serves as the entry point to the world of social services, benefits, and programs. Because the emergency food system is one of the most underfunded areas of the nonprofit sector, it is largely operated by faith-based organizations that rely almost entirely on volunteers. In some states proselytizing is prohibited, but in others it is not. Either way, it is likely that many queers do not feel comfortable in settings that have traditionally alienated and condemned our community.

Food poverty data also illustrates an emerging, troubling trend—the wave of senior hunger that is set to ripple across the country as baby boomers age into retirement. Broader issues that relate to queer seniors are covered in other sections of this journal issue (see Amber Hollibaugh’s article “2, 4, 6, 8: Who Says that Your Grandmother’s Straight?”). In terms of food poverty, seniors already rank as one of the majority groups relying on emergency food. The expectation is that the numbers of seniors on soup kitchen and food pantry lines will balloon once the baby boomers age in, as they are the first generate to age in without savings, and even before the income drop that retirement will bring many are already reporting difficulty affording food. For example, approximately one half (49 percent) of New Yorkers ages 50 to 64 experienced difficulty affording food in 2008, double the amount in 2003 and up from 44 percent since 2007 (an 11 percent increase).[17] Prioritizing the issue of elderly poverty, food poverty, and homelessness is an example of how the queer community could and should be setting an agenda that not only projects the queer voice but plays a leadership role in arenas of important social change. To do otherwise makes the needs of existing and future generations of queer seniors invisible, putting them at risk of substandard care and services.

As a baby boomer, Jay has a personal interest in seeing the needs of queer seniors attended to and she understands all too well the dangers of invisibility:

As a baby boomer, I would say I feel discouraged by what our community is not doing. Seeing elders on soup kitchen and food pantry lines is disheartening and makes me worry about my future. Is there even a place in our community where queer elders, or queers of any age, can go to get food? All the talk I have heard about housing for elders seems to be for people who have money, but what about people who are poor? The idea of having to go to group homes or shelters where being queer is not acceptable, the thought that you might be separated from your partner in these places … I wonder what’s going to happen to me when I won’t be able to work or do anything and what will Sheila do: Who will take care of us? And what about the hundreds, the thousands of others who don’t even have the connections within the queer community that I have?

What Jay fears the most about growing old is a level of poverty that would bring her back to a world she only recently escaped. In total, Jay estimates that she was homeless for approximately one quarter of a century, the last ten years of which were the most difficult. “The drug addiction was bad and I had been introduced to crack—something nobody should ever be introduced to. The alcoholism was wasting me and in all those years I never went into a shelter until some friends who were concerned about my health took me to one of the assessment shelters. I went in scared and I had every reason to feel that way—all the stories I had ever heard about the lack of safety for queers in the shelter system were true.” The irony of invisibility is how susceptible it makes queers to harassment and assault, as the lack of regard and respect from official corners paves the way for discrimination and abuse. Jay talks freely about her own struggle with invisibility as she recalls how the feeling that nobody in the world cared—nobody saw her, both in the shelters and on the street—was the root of a desperate sense of loneliness that kept her company for those twenty-five years: “What people see is not you. Being queer and a woman on the streets comes with such a weight. Society puts that burden on you. You feel how people see you. From being on the streets I remember seeing the absolute fear on people’s faces when they encountered me. People are afraid of the homeless but it’s different for women. I think the image of a homeless man is perceived as more of a physical danger, but the image of a woman on the streets scares people because it makes it more real—women are not supposed to be on the street, so seeing a homeless woman makes you think it’s your mother or your sister; it makes it feel like it could happen to anybody.”

Creating Change and Visibility

On one occasion, during the time when she was still living on the streets, upon realizing it had been months since her last human interaction because people regularly walked by without engaging or acknowledging her presence, she found herself walking into the middle of the street and crying as she begged aloud for someone, anyone to stop. “Somebody, somebody please talk to me.” Nobody did. “That’s why I do this work,” she explains, “because nobody should ever feel the way I felt, like nobody cares.”

Conditions improved at the last shelter Jay stayed in. When she sobered up she inserted herself into the community and got support from the staff, including the shelter director. Being queer was still an issue but it was here that Jay not only participated in her first pride celebration but began the work of organizing other queer shelter residents, albeit reluctantly at first. I had met Jay during a standard shelter visit to facilitate the election of a group of resident leaders some months prior. Already aware of a large population of gay men and transgender women at one of the men’s shelters, I was intrigued to discover a large community of lesbians at Jay’s shelter. Within days I convinced Jay to venture into the heart of the queer community. With no specific plan in mind, it seemed necessary to establish some connection, and in the end we settled on the idea of participating in the Pride March. It was fitting in the first year that the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization offered to share their spot with the shelter group—if ever there was a group that understood the relevance of visibility in a parade it was ILGO. Jay’s reluctance gave way to interest and finally excitement and purpose as she organized participants from her shelter to get involved. They collectively designed hand-painted t-shirts and signs, organized the first pride celebration in a homeless shelter (it was the first time a “pride” banner decorated the walls of the shelter), and Jay coordinated a day trip for fellow shelter residents so they could get free photos to post on a pride-themed bulletin board at the shelter. The excitement was palpable, even on the day of the march with each sizzling step down the avenue under a blazing sun. And when the contingent finally entered the Village to the hollering sea of queers lining the sidewalks and swinging off the fire escapes, there were tears. There was a moment, finally, of belonging. Jay has not looked back since. It was not long before she found a seat on the board of the newly formed QEJ, and became the director of the Shelter Project. And every June, Jay maintains the tradition of organizing a contingent of shelter residents in the Pride March, wondering how large the group will have to become before the proclamation on their t-shirts, “Housing is a Queer Issue,” will be adopted by the mainstream queer organizations.

Jay believes there is much more work to be done; the shelter project’s support groups and the transgender policy are important first steps but they are not enough. The next step is the creation of a queer shelter that would provide a safe space and relevant programming. When presented with the concern that some in the queer community might negatively view the idea of a queer shelter as segregation, Jay’s response is quiet and immediate, “I would ask them if they have ever been in the shelter system. This isn’t about politics. It’s about survival.”

When I ask Jay how long she will keep doing this work the response is mixed:

When someone else starts doing this, I’ll think about stopping. When I was in the shelter there was nothing for those of us who are queer. I never felt comfortable, on the streets or in the shelter system or in my own skin, and I want other people to feel like there is a hand out. You’re sinking in a pool of bureaucracy and someone has to throw out that life preserver. QEJ definitely got that. And yes, I feel like walking away sometimes but then there’s the hook—I’ve been there, I know what it’s like. How can I turn my back when I know what it’s like to have people turn their back on me? I can’t allow homeless voices to be stifled and I can’t allow shelters not to have queer pride. I knew even as I was putting my own life back together and getting out of the shelter that I would have to come back and help other people put the pieces of their lives back together. If my experiences can help anybody, if they can catch on to even one word I say, I’ve done my job. People just need a chance. That’s all I needed. I knew how to survive but I didn’t know how to live. That’s what I try to give everyone. I have this dream about five or six times a year about walking up the doors of the shelter I used to be in and seeing a sign that reads, “CLOSED DUE TO LACK OF HOMELESSNESS.” That’s what I want: I want that dream to come true.

Footnotes

  1. In response to the wave of homelessness that emerged in the late 1970s, the Coalition for the Homeless brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of all homeless men against the city and state called Callahan v. Carey, arguing that a constitutional right to shelter existed in New York. In August 1981, after nearly two years of intensive negotiations, Callahan v. Carey was settled as a consent decree that established a right to shelter for all homeless men in New York City. In 1983 the right to shelter was extended to homeless women under the Eldredge v. Koch lawsuit, and later to homeless families with children by the McCain v. Koch lawsuit, filed by the Legal Aid Society. See “The Callahan Legacy: Callahan v. Carey and the Legal Right to Shelter” on the website of the Coalition for the Homeless. [Return to text]
  2. NYC Department of Homeless Services, Emerging Trends in Client Demographics (PDF). (New York: NYC Department of Homeless Services). [Return to text]
  3. New York City Department of Homeless Services, Procedure No, 06-1-31: Transgender/Intersex Clients (New York: New York City Department of Homeless Services, 2006). [Return to text]
  4. United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey (Washington: United States Census Bureau, 2007). [Return to text]
  5. In 1960 the measure was developed based upon research showing that households spent an average of one third of their incomes on food whereas current research shows that households generally spend one seventh of their income on food. [Return to text]
  6. See Commission for Economic Opportunity, Increasing Opportunity and Reducing Poverty in New York City (New York: Commission for Economic Opportunity, 2006); Center for Economic Opportunity, An Alternative to the Federal Poverty Measure (New York: Center for Economic Opportunity, 2008); and National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University, What is the Nature of Poverty and Economic Hardship in the United States? (New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University, 2008). [Return to text]
  7. National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University, Measuring Income and Poverty in the United States (New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University, 2007). Living expenses taken into account include rent and utilities, food, child care, health insurance, transportation, other necessities, and payroll and income taxes. [Return to text]
  8. United States Department of Labor. [Return to text]
  9. National Coalition for the Homeless, Why Are People Homeless? (Washington: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009). [Return to text]
  10. United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2005-2007 Estimates (Washington: United States Census Bureau, 2007). [Return to text]
  11. Denis Culhane, “Prevalence of Treated Behavioral Disorders among Adult Shelter Users: A Longitudinal Study” (with June M. Averyt and Trevor R. Hadley), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (1998). [Return to text]
  12. The United States Conference of Mayors, Hunger and Homelessness Survey (PDF). (2005). [Return to text]
  13. Wendy B. Bostwick, Mental Health Issues among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) People (Arlington: National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2007). [Return to text]
  14. Feeding America, Hunger in America. (Washington: Feeding America, 2006). [Return to text]
  15. Hunger in America, 2006. [Return to text]
  16. Food Bank For New York City, NYC Hunger Experience Update (PDF). (New York: Food Bank For New York City, 2008). [Return to text]
  17. New York City Department of City Planning, New York City Population Projections by Age/Sex and Borough, 2000—2030 Report (New York: New York City Department of City Planning, 2006). [Return to text]

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