New York City recently had its first snowstorm of the year! And so, I’m partaking in my annual tradition in the middle of Times Square by eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in shorts.
Why am I eating ice cream in a snowstorm?
Well, it’s a tradition I started in high school. One day after basketball practice, I was with my girlfriend, and we wanted ice cream. It was snowing, but I was still wearing shorts from practice. The snow was so pretty that we ate it outside, and I said out loud “hopefully this is the coldest that I will be all winter.”
Then for some reason, I kept doing this on the very first snowstorm every winter.
But over time I began to think about not just how the cold affected me at that moment, but also how the cold affected other people.
Here are two statistics about homelessness in New York City from the Coalition for the Homeless.
- In December 2023, approximately 123,000 adults and children were being housed in the NYC shelter system.
- The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 76 percent higher than it was 10 years ago.
However, each night thousands of unsheltered people also sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces.
For these people, the winter cold is an everyday challenge.
So, now I keep up this tradition to maintain awareness of this problem. When I can, I also volunteer and donate to local charities that support people who are experiencing homelessness.
Let’s make it a priority to make sure nobody is out on the streets cold at night – here, or in any city!
How Many People Are Experiencing Homelessness in NYC?
As of December 2023, there were approximately 123,000 people in the NYC Shelter system.