“Lots of people don’t qualify for supportive housing. If you are on a fixed income, don’t have a mental illness or a substance abuse problem, you still need a place to live and you can’t afford to pay rent in New York City. The city wastes more than $3,000 a month on my shelter bed, but they don’t have blankets. They don’t have heat. If someone knew that they’d be warm, that they’d be safe, that they wouldn’t wake up with someone standing over their bed with a baseball bat, they might actually want to go to shelter. These politicians don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re competing to get their names in the papers, while we suffer. Instead of violating our constitutional rights, the governor needs to help us get out of homelessness. All this money being wasted on shelter needs to go to permanent housing.”
Mrs. Arvernetta Henry is a New York City schoolteacher and a member of Picture the Homeless. Mrs. Henry is a wife and mother of two adult children, and has two grandchildren. At PTH she helped found the Homeless Organizing Academy, a rigorous curriculum of classes in life skills and political education that’s free to all homeless and formerly homeless people. She loves music and recreational sports, but is most passionate about service to other people on her life journey.