Access to Basic Needs

Housing Security

Third and fourth graders in Fort Greene chose to help solve the growing and seemingly intractable crisis of homelessness in New York City. Through research and meetings with advocates in the field, they learned that a vast majority of the NYC homeless population consists of families with children living in temporary shelters. They created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to help raise awareness in their community and persuade local legislators to make providing stable homes for children a top priority. SLP advocacy partner Care for the Homeless(CFH) screened the PSA at their annual gala to inspire guests to participate in a text pledge drive – and more than $25,000 in donations were pledged during the event. CFH also used their PSA in a variety of other fundraising and policy efforts. Watch it below!

Third graders in Brownsville also chose to help unhoused New Yorkers. After meeting with advocates in the field they decided to organize a campaign to persuade the City Council to fund a Peer-to-Peer Outreach program. The Outreach program is designed to “find the unhoused where they are” by training formerly and currently unhoused New Yorkers to educate adults living on the streets of NYC about free medical care and other critical services provided by Care for the Homeless (CFH). The students organized a letter-writing campaign as well as a petition drive to persuade their local City Council member to support the program – and were thrilled to learn that CFH received their requested funding! To provide more immediate support, the students also collected and delivered much-needed supplies including socks (delivered to a CFH medical clinic located near their school) and hundreds of Care Kits with soap, shampoo, combs and more (delivered to a drop-in shelter run by the Coalition for the Homeless.)


After brainstorming and considering more than thirty potential issues, fourth grade students from Essex, Vermont chose to address the homelessness crisis in their state. Their project culminated in a trip to the state house in Montpelier to join a statewide Homelessness Awareness Day. To advocate for increased funding and support for Vermont’s unhoused population, they scheduled individual meetings and prepared detailed advocacy presentations for six state representatives. They also spoke directly with the Lieutenant Governor about their passion for this issue and participated in a vigil on the steps of the State House. To learn more about their project, read this Essex Reporter article and check out the video below. 

Fourth graders in Stowe, Vermont also chose to focus on homelessness. During the Research Phase, they learned that Vermont has the highest rate of homelessness in New England, as well as far fewer homeless resources and services compared to more urban locations. During an interview with the director of the local adult shelter, they were alarmed to discover that there is no local family shelter in Stowe, despite the fact that, each day, more than 25 families in their county do not have a stable home. Armed with the results of their petition drive (more than 175 signatures) and research about the critical need for family shelters, they delivered an impassioned advocacy presentation to the Vermont Agency for Human Services Field Director for their county. He shared their advocacy work with the Vermont Commissioner of Health and Family Services, who promised to take their plea for a family shelter into consideration moving forward. Their advocacy was highlighted in this Stowe Reporter article

Food Security

Distressed by stories of hunger and food scarcity they heard from their classmates, third- fifth graders in Sunset Park decided to tackle food insecurity in their neighborhood. After weeks of research, including an interview with an expert from Kingsborough College, the students decided to organize an awareness-raising campaign about the prevalence of food insecurity in their neighborhood. They wanted to share ways for community members to help, as well as provide resources and support to those facing food insecurity themselves. The students created a slideshow to share with the parent community at their school and persuaded the administration to post it on the school website, to serve as a long-lasting resource for their community.

Inflation

SLP high school students in the Bronx, feeling the pain of inflation, called for an increase in year-round youth jobs paying minimum wage or higher. They created this advocacy presentation, which includes personal testimonies, for their City Council representative and other NYC policymakers.