Hunger And Homelessness Present Major Challenges In Upstate New York

As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, the harsh realities of homelessness, hunger and poverty quickly come into focus. Their devastating impacts are tragic all year round, but as we go deeper into the fall and winter approaches, the dangers of being without shelter grow by the day. Too many are faced with inadequate clothing, food and being without a bed each night. It is only through the strength and generosity of our incredible communities and the dedication of advocates, legislators and volunteers that we can combat homelessness and hunger and help those vulnerable New Yorkers in need.  
Next week is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a time dedicated to drawing attention to problems stemming from homelessness and working together to help those who lack basic necessities. During the week, participating organizations host fundraising, advocacy and service events as well as a variety of educational forums. There are some great resources for those interested in helping at the effort’s homepage.
Upstate New York has had to endure a particularly challenging time, with so many of its cities facing substantial poverty issues. A recent report from the Economic Innovation Group found 50 Upstate New York zip codes fell into its highest “distress score bracket.” Many of our largest towns and cities qualified for this unfortunate distinction. As a life-long resident, I call on all of my fellow New Yorkers to help those less fortunate as we collectively take a moment to reflect on this challenging situation.
It will take a concerted effort to eliminate hunger and homelessness, with action required at every level of government, through volunteer organizations and, quite frankly, simply by folks helping folks. Soon, the state Legislature will be, again, actively taking up legislation. We must do more to both improve the overall economic well-being of the state—for too long New York’s economy has languished causing a harmful ripple into every community—and to help those in need.
Our conference has advocated for an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as a bill (A.4295, Goodell) to directly address the needs of low-income families by amending the labor law. But legislation is only one piece of the puzzle. The best defense we have against homelessness is each other. The charitable spirit and generosity of New Yorkers is unmatched, and I have seen first-hand so many incredible people and organizations serve their neighbors with distinction. For example, the Salvation Army has been a tremendous institution in the fight against poverty. And there are a number of other organizations that provide job-readiness programs to help provide a sustainable solution to poverty and homelessness.

I am proud of the efforts of all of those who helped organize this important advocacy week. I am certain, together, we will be able to strengthen New York and find a way to provide for those who are struggling through difficult times.
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.  

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.