Bronx Residents Fear Being Homeless

The Bronx has it hard. It's the New York City borough with the highest unemployment rate. It has the highest violent crime rate. And now, according to the NY Daily News, its residents have more worries about homelessness than those in any other borough.

According to a poll by the Institute for Children and Poverty, a third of all Bronx residents actively fear homelessness, spurred in large part by continuing rent increases and budget cuts. Some 80% of Bronx residents polled ponder homelessness monthly, and more than a third speculated about it every single day.

And not without good reason.

According to the City, outreach workers interact with homeless people in the Bronx more than any other borough. They have 1,458 contacts with homeless folks in the Bronx every month, compared with 1,219 contacts in Queens and 1,157 in Brooklyn (exact figures on the homeless are impossible to obtain).

Even those who aren't homeless are hurting harder in the Bronx than elsewhere. About 40% of the residents polled reported that they struggled to handle basic expenses, a number that was 10 percent lower for residents of other boroughs.

One of the interesting things about the poll was that it revealed a boroughful of thoughtful people, an anti-NIMBY community. The News reported that "80% of Bronxites endorse the 'Right to Shelter' that guarantees a bed for every homeless person in the city," and "Only 9% of Bronxites oppose nearby shelters, the poll found, and regardless of hard times, half would pay higher taxes to solve the homeless problem." Not only are they compassionate, but their hard times might bend them toward a socialist philosophy.

Another reason they might fear homelessness: even those with leases and money to pay rent are vulnerable. Several Bronx landlords made the Village Voice's list of 10 Worst Landlords this year. To some Bronxites, the street might be looking pretty good.
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