MHK needs to work on housing crisis

People all across the nation are preparing for the holiday season, a time where we come together as families to express love and compassion for one another. However, this experience cannot be taken for granted.

Melissa and her daughter

Melissa and her daughter

With housing playing a critical role in things like health, job security and fundamental well being, I am shocked people do not have vital resources they need to get off their feet. Especially around the holiday season.

In 2011, I left my now ex-husband because of an abusive relationship. My 3-year-old daughter and I found ourselves without access to finances, food and shelter. There was no family to call. There was no friends in the area, due to being a military family. However, I had no choice but to leave this toxic environment.

Finding a safe and affordable place to stay was a challenge. I was homeless for over five years, because I could not get back on my feet. Our social safety net has failed many of our most vulnerable like my daughter.

This holiday season, I am calling upon our city commissioners to take action on the housing crisis here in Manhattan. This begins with developing a viable rental inspection program, followed by a housing trust fund, then neighborhood revitalization.

This piece was originally published in The Mercury on Nov. 16, 2018.