New York City weather has not been mild this winter, to say the least. NYC and surrounding areas gear up today in preparation to withstand extreme weather that is expected to be record-setting. The largest snow storm in NYC weather history dumped 26 inches of snow. The weather rolling into the NYC area today may potentially result in two to three feet of snow. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned not to underestimate the storm. He is encouraging everyone to plan for the worst weather they have ever seen, and emphasizes the need for safety – but that’s easier said than done for some people. Watch this report from the NYC Mayor’s Office for more details.
In this extreme NYC weather, there’s nothing important enough to leave the safety and warmth of your home. But what of those who have no home? New York City is full of homeless people left out on the streets. Their threadbare clothing is no match for the howling winds and drifting snow. How do they care for babies and children in poor weather conditions with no shelter, no warmth? Even more desperate are the kids who have no parents with them. Can you imagine your own child, wrapped in a ball under makeshift shelter, as ice and snow tumble from the sky upon her?
In a report from RT America from September 2013, the number of children in the New York City Shelter System had reached the largest amount since the Great Depression. A whopping 22,136 kids were present in NYC shelters nightly at that time, and has grown to 25,000 today. That number does not account for children who remain on the streets.
The deadly weather bearing down on NYC will wreak havoc on everyone caught in its path, but the unsheltered will suffer most of all. The shelters simply cannot hold everyone. Sadly, many of the homeless deal with mental illness and other issues that result in a refusal of help. But the children have no choice, and no recourse. The Coalition for the Homeless states that more than 25,000 kids will sleep in NYC shelters tonight. It estimates that there are thousands more unsheltered NYC individuals who do not seek a place to stay. That is on a normal night. I don’t think it would be wrong to say the shelters are bursting at the seams this night. I was unable to reach anyone at the NYC office today. No wonder, the staff are very likely in crisis mode, out and about helping everyone possible.
The Huffington Post recently shared an article about a video made by the Coalition for the Homeless featuring kids who have no home. The video, in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, is entitled I Have A Dream. Each child shares a personal dream for their future. We sometimes have preconceived notions about the homeless. No, they do not look like filthy ragamuffins, but rather simply innocent little ones who look to their future with hope, despite their present circumstances. Which, of course, they are. Watch the sweet video below.
As the bad weather rushes toward NYC today, let’s all do what we can to help. If you walk past an unsheltered person, take a minute to stop and share weather and shelter information or, at the very least, bring them a cup of steaming hot coffee. The rest of us can pray. May God lead them to safety, especially the little children caught in this horrible weather. The unpredictable weather will surely shut down the entire NYC area. May everyone be safe.
[Image via the Huffington Post]