Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge activist urges more help for city’s homeless

Liam McCabe to take part in HOPE count on Jan. 23

January 10, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Community activist Liam McCabe, along with Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann (left) and Willie McCabe Memorial board member Nanci Roden is urging Brooklyn residents to volunteer for HOPE, the city’s annual count of the homeless. Photo courtesy of McCabe
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A Bay Ridge political activist whose homeless father died 12 years ago is urging residents to volunteer to help count the number of people living on the streets as part of a citywide project.

Liam McCabe is asking Brooklyn residents — particularly those in his Bay Ridge neighborhood — to volunteer to take part in the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), an annual project supervised by the New York City Department of Homeless Services in which teams of volunteers fan out all over the streets and subways to count the number of homeless people.

New York City is mandated by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct a count of the number of homeless people once a year. The 2016 HOPE Count determined that 2,794 people were living on the streets and in the subways.

The 2017 HOPE count will take place on Jan. 23. P.S. 102, located at 211 72nd St. in Bay Ridge, will be one of the gathering spots for the volunteers, McCabe said.

McCabe’s father Willie McCabe, a Vietnam War-era military veteran, was homeless. He died in 2005.

“Homelessness is a serious issue in New York City, and the HOPE Count is an active step towards finding out exactly how many chronically homeless are living in the streets of New York and then working on gathering the resources to help those people. We have to get more volunteers at P.S. 102 to help alleviate the homeless issue in our area,” said McCabe, who has been a HOPE volunteer for 10 years.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, said increases in the number of homeless people in Bay Ridge have spurred action by the board. “Community Board 10 will be hosting a committee meeting this Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. to discuss ways to address homelessness with all of the stakeholders present,” she said.

McCabe has found other ways to pay tribute to his late father and to advocate for military veterans. Each year, he holds the Willie McCabe Memorial 5K Run/Walk to raise money for organizations that help veterans.

Willie McCabe served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

Nanci Roden, a board member of the Willie McCabe Memorial, said it is important to get an accurate count of the homeless. “It’s great to participate in the HOPE Count. It’s an especially important cause for me as I’ve seen and personally helped many homeless veterans get back on their feet.  Knowing how many are living on the streets is the first step toward solving the problem,” she said.

Liam McCabe serves as an aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) and is the founder of the Brooklyn South Conservative Club. He is considering running for a City Council seat in November.

McCabe said the issue of homelessness is personal to him, given his father’s tragic history.

“I think the way reduce the number of homeless people on the streets is to model homeless programs around ones that work. Programs that reward participation in chemical dependency treatment and mental health treatment are the ones that produce the best results. I have seen firsthand a program run by Samaritan Village for Veterans that produces miracles for the men that pass through that facility. The homeless are as diverse as the general population, and one size does not fit all,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.

McCabe admires the work done by advocates for the homeless.

“My father suffered from alcoholism and PTSD, so I know how hard it is to work with people that suffer from homelessness because the human dynamic is the hardest to manage,” he told the Eagle.

 

For information on volunteering for the HOPE Count, visit nyc.gov/dhs.

 


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