Eli’s Service Reflection

For the YPI project my group focused on homelessness in relation to substance abuse and mental illness in New York City. We found that the number of homeless people in the city has been rising over the years with more than 53,000 people in homeless shelters. This number does not account for the vast number of people sleeping in the streets and on subways. Of the more than 53,000 homeless people, almost 40 percent suffer from substance abuse and 64 percent suffer from mental illness. To gain more incite on the social issue my group worked researched and visited the Bowery Residents Committee (BRC), a non-profit organization. BRC helps homeless people throughout the city. They have shelters located all over the New York City that give meals, places to sleep, and different programs for their clients depending on the client’s needs. We quickly learned that BRC emphasizes helping their clients make goals and that each client is unique. Most of all, BRC helps clients care about themselves and regain hope.

The YPI project was very informative and gave me a new perspective on homelessness. It was very rewarding to put my efforts into a real issue in the city because I was given the chance to make a real difference in someone’s life. Even though my group did not win the five thousand dollar donation to BRC it was still meaningful to raise awareness for BRC and an issue important to me. Also, visiting a BRC shelter and interviewing Muzzy, the Executive Director, gave me a new outlook on the homeless and on substance abuse.  Some experiences during my site visit were seeing clients do art, and introducing myself and meeting a couple clients. It was personal experiences like these and seeing homeless people in a setting besides the street that made me not think of the homeless people as a whole. The YPI project gave me a new outlook on the homeless where they are each very unique with his or her own life story.

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