NEW YORK (Feb. 2)
A rabbi who is involved in dealing with the Jewish poor and homeless in the New York Metropolitan area, said last night that the problem of homeless Jews has in recent years become a major challenge to the Jewish community.
He said that estimates of homeless in Greater New York range from 6, 000 to 36, 000. “We estimate that the number of homeless Jews is between 1, 000 to 1, 200,” Rabbi David Cohen, executive director of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty, said.
Cohen addressed a symposium on “Homelessness in New York City” at Congregation Shearith Israel (Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) here.
Some 100 representatives of more than 20 Jewish organizations attended the symposium which was sponsored by the Metropolitan Council in cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the New York Board of Rabbis.
A CROSS-SECTION OF THE POPULATION
Cohen said that the homeless people represent a cross-section of the population. He said that they art equally divided between males and females, ranging in age from infants to senior citizens. In some cases, the homelesscre entire families, parents and their children.
He said that many of the homeless are educated individuals with high school diplomas and college degrees. He said that the homeless are victims of unemployment, “inflated housing market” and lack of ability and knowledge about which welfare agencies to turn to for assistance.
FEDERATION’S HOMELESS PROJECT
David Liederman, associate executive director for the Federation of Jewish Phi lanthropies, said that the Federation’s Homeless Project, launched last March, has served more than 500 homeless with the help of other Federation-supported agencies. A recent survey of nearly 450 persons served by the Federation’s Homeless Project revealed the following facts on homeless Jews:
* Familes with children make up 34 percent of the homeless.
* The majority of the homeless families — about 52 percent — are headed by a single parent.
* More than half of the homeless adults have a higf school diploma, while a few have college and graduate degrees.
* Fifty-six percent are between the ages of 21 and 50.
The symposium last night, included workshops focusing on the efforts of synagogues, institutions and organizations to help solve the problem of the homeless Jews.