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New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.


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New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.


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Visit www.nyc.gov/teen and click on "Dating and Friends" and "Feeling Stressed" to learn more.

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Hotlines (dating violence, housing, mental health)


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Legal Aid (call the office in the borough where you lived when you first went into foster care)
Bronx: 718-579-7900
Brooklyn: 718-237-7100
Manhattan: 212-312-2260
Queens: 718-298-8900
Staten Isl.: 718-981-0219

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Featured Story

A Roof of One's Own: Where are poor people supposed to live?
image by YC Art Dept.
A Roof of One's Own
Where are poor people supposed to live?

Do you know what it’s like to feel like you have no place to live? I do. I got kicked out of my aunt’s house and was homeless several years ago. I ended up in Covenant House, which is an emergency shelter for young adults ages 15-21 in Manhattan.

Kids like me might not even get a bed today. Covenant House reports a 40% increase in young people seeking shelter since October 2008. Meanwhile, because of budget cuts, Covenant House has been forced to close programs to help youth get housing, according to The Center for New York City Affairs.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that as many as 50,000 youth sleep on the streets in the United States. They also found that one-quarter of former foster youth nationwide had been homeless at least one night within two-and-a-half to four years of aging out.

I live at a residential treatment center now, but I am only a few years away from aging out of foster care. I am afraid of being homeless again. In an economic crisis, housing is one of the easiest things to lose.

Deep Cuts

A scary thing happening in New York City is that Section 8 was cut in December 2009. Section 8 is federal money for low-income people renting apartments in all kinds of buildings, not just “the projects,” or public housing. Cities and states get the money from the federal government and give rent vouchers to low-income people. The renter has to pay 30% of his or her income, and the voucher pays the difference between that 30% and the cost of the rent.

Nobody’s being kicked out of their Section 8 apartment, but no new vouchers are being given out. The city tries to find other housing for teens aging out of foster care, along with survivors of domestic violence.

To find out more about housing for low-income people, I talked to Mario Mazzoni at the Metropolitan Council. Met Council is a nonprofit organization that helps tenants stay in their apartments and looks to create more affordable housing in New York City. Though Met Council deals only with New York, what Mazzoni told me about the cuts to affordable housing here is happening in many parts of the country. Wherever you go, low-income people are hurt the worst by the recession.

Mazzoni said it is not just Section 8 cuts that threaten poor people’s housing . . .

[read more]