New York City has seen thousands of asylum seekers bus in from Texas since the spring, straining social services and prompting Mayor Eric Adams to declare a state of emergency this month.
Companies have stepped in to help the city respond to the crisis, according to Christine Quinn, former New York City Council president and current CEO of homeless nonprofit WIN.
“In New York, I want to say that business has stepped up and, you know, donating clothes and other items that we need,” Quinn recently told Yahoo Finance editor Andy Serwer.
Since the spring, more than 21,000 migrants have arrived in New York, The New York Times reported on Oct. 21, citing city officials. Many are fleeing Venezuela due to its severe economic decline and have been bussed in from Texas, as that state’s governor, Greg Abbott, responded to what he called “the open border policy of the President Biden”.
Homeless shelters have multiplied as new migrants arrive. Nearly 64,000 people are occupying the shelters, according to the New York Department of Homeless Services, well above NYC’s 2019 record of 39,365 people.
In an effort to alleviate the crisis, WIN, New York’s largest provider of family shelters and housing for homeless families, has served more than 200 families seeking asylum. Recently, he also worked with meat distributors to provide families with discounted food items, according to The New York Times. Quinn thanks companies such as Pepsi, BlackRock, Blackstone and the New York Mets for supporting the work of the non-profit organization.
“We’re a lot of companies, I mean, one thing companies can do is if they don’t have a donor arm, okay, they have to have one,” Quinn said. “And that can be in the form of grants, maybe in the form of events, buying tables, whatever you want to do.”
New York businesses have also recently partnered with city officials to address homelessness more broadly. For example, Mayor Adams launched an initiative in July called the Homeless Assistance Fund, a public-private partnership dedicated to addressing homelessness in New York City. More than 60 companies helped launch the fund, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Bloomberg LP, among others. They had promised 8 million dollars to the cause as early as July.
Quinn insists New York businesses have a responsibility to help the homeless.
“You can’t, in my opinion, exist in New York City and have most of your employees come from New York, and think you can’t give back because every day you’re walking the streets, or the police protect you or the firefighters protect you, etc.,” Quinn asserted. “You have to give back.”
Quinn added that companies can also use their communication platforms to effect change. For example, New York City businesses and local government joined forces to implement the Homeless Relief Fund after more than 10,000 private sector employees reported concern about the homelessness in a Morning Consult survey in March. Quinn says other companies should take note of their example.
“So if you’re a business and you feel like my employees are saying there’s too much homelessness in this city, and it bothers them, okay, we’ll make an affirmative statement that you think the city needs to spend more money on housing…” Quinn said. “I can say that after being in government. Business is listened to by government.
Quinn, a Democrat, was the first openly gay-speaking woman on the New York City Council from 2006 to 2013. Since 2015, she has served as president and CEO of WIN, formerly Women in Need. The nonprofit organization operates 14 shelters and 400 supportive housing units in New York City.
Dylan Croll is a journalist and researcher at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @CrollonPatrol.
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