MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: July 8, 2020

Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin takes us onstage, backstage, and in the many offices that power the productions for a look at the new face of Broadway. Covenant House NY executive director Sister Nancy Downing discusses the risks for kids experiencing homelessness on their own and her concern about the coming spike in youth homelessness amid the pandemic.

AIRED: July 08, 2020 | 0:28:35
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS," WITH

RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

CHERYL AND PHILLIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY.

BERNARD AND BERNICE SCHWARTZ,

DR. ROBERT C AND TEEN NO FUND

FOUNDATION.

FUNDING FOR CHASING THE DREAM IS

PROVIDED BY THE JPV FOUNDATION.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR CHASING

THE DREAM IS PROVIDED BY SUE AND

EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

>>> WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

I'M JACK FORD.

IN MARCH THE LIGHTS ON BROADWAY

WENT OUT AND THE THEATERS HAVE

REMAINED DARK SINCE THAT TIME.

HOWEVER, RECENTLY THERE'S BEEN

AN INDICATION THAT BROOTD WAY IS

LOOKING FORWARD TO OPENING THE

DOORS, TURNING THE LIGHTS BACK

ON AGAIN AROUND THE BEGINNING OF

JANUARY OF 2020.

QUESTIONS ARISE, WILL THAT IN

FACT HAPPEN?

IF IT DOES AND WHEN IT DOES,

WHAT WILL THE PRODUCTIONS LOOK

LIKE AND FEEL LIKE INSIDE THOSE

THEATERS.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE WITH US

TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF

QUESTIONS -- MARTIN PRESIDENT OF

THE BROADWAY LEAGUE.

THE BROADWAY LEAGUE IS THE

NATIONAL TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR

THE BROADWAY INDUSTRY.

CHARLOTTE.

WELCOME TO YOU, DELIGHTED TO

HAVE YOU WITH US.

>> GREAT TO BE HERE TO TALK

ABOUT MY FAVORITE SUBJECT.

>> IT IS MINE INDEED, ALSO.

SO LET'S START WITH YOUR LEVEL

OF OPTIMISM THAT THE JANUARY

REOPENING DATE CAN INDEED BE

REALISTIC FOR US.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

>> WELL, I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF

TO BE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC AT

THIS STAGE.

WE HAVE HIRED A TOP INFECTIOUS

DISEASE EXPERT.

WE'RE WORKING WITH TOP HEALTH

OFFICIALS AND SCIENTISTS IN THE

STATE OF NEW YORK -- THANK YOU

VERY MUCH TO THE GOVERNOR FOR

HELPING US MAKE THOSE

CONNECTIONS.

WE'RE LOOKING AT EVERY SINGLE

THING.

IN THE LAST MONTH WE FINALLY GOT

NEWS THAT SAID, IF THIS IS

POSSIBLE, WE'VE ANNOUNCED

JANUARY 3rd AS THE NEXT DATE BY

WHICH WE'LL GIVE REFUNDS AND

EXCHANGES FOR TICKETS.

THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE OPENING

JANUARY 4th.

THOUGH WE HOPE TO OPEN SOON

THEREAFTER.

THE CONVERSATIONS ARE GOING ON

THAT IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE

YEAR WE PLAN TO BE BACK UNLESS

WE GET SOME KIND OF BAD NEWS.

EACH DAY YOU LEARN NEW THINGS

THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW THE DAY

BEFORE OR THE WEEK BEFORE.

SOMETIMES THAT'S GOOD AND

SOMETIMES THAT'S NOT SO GOOD.

WE'RE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC TO

GET BACK.

>> THE FIRST QUESTION HAS TO DO

WITH THE ECONOMICS AND HOW MUCH

MONEY IS BEING LOST EACH WEEK

WHILE THESE THEATERS ARE

SHUTTERED.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN ESTIMATE OF

WHAT DOLLARS WE'RE TALKING

ABOUT?

>> LOOKING AT THE LAST COUPLE

YEARS WE'RE LOSING AN ESTIMATE

OF $35 MILLION A WEEK JUST ON

TICKET SALES.

THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ALL

OF THE OTHER REVENUE SOURCES

BASED ON US BEING OPEN AND

FUNCTIONING AT THE LEVEL WE WERE

FUNCTIONING.

WE PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC IMPACT

FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ALMOST

$15 BILLION.

THAT MEANS THE CITY OF NEW YORK

IS LOSING A BILLION, TOO.

THOSE ARE BIG DOLLARS AND LOTS

OF JOBS THAT AREN'T WORKING

BECAUSE WE'RE NOT OPEN.

>> WE KNOW BROADWAY, I'VE SEEN

IT DESCRIBED AS A COLLECTION OF

SMALL ENTREPRENEURIAL

BUSINESSES, IF YOU WILL, IN

TERMS OF PRODUCERS AND ALL THE

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN GETTING A

SHOW UP AND RUNNING.

IN LOOKING AT -- YOU MENTIONED

THOSE LOSSES.

HOW ABOUT THE FINANCIAL IMPACT

ON PERFORMERS AND THE CREW.

DESCRIBE FOR US HOW DEVASTATING

THAT HAS BEEN FOR THEM.

>> WELL, BROADWAY IS SHUT DOWN.

NOBODY IS WORKING EXCEPT FOR THE

FEW PEOPLE THAT HAVEN'T BEEN

FURLOUGHED IN OFFICES.

IN MY OFFICE WE FURLOUGHED 40%

OF OUR STAFF.

WE'RE TRYING TO GET BROADWAY

BACK UP.

THE ACTORS, THE STAGE HANDS, THE

MUSICIANS, ALL THE PEOPLE WHO

MAKE BROADWAY WORK ARE NOT

WORKING, AND IT IS DEVASTATING.

I MEAN WE HAVE A VERY STRONG

LOBBYING ARM AT THE BROADWAY

LEAGUE AND WE'VE BEEN LOBBYING

FOR EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT

BENEFITS FOR ALL THE WORKERS,

EXTENSION OF HEALTH BENEFITS FOR

ALL OF THE WORKERS, AND WE'RE

ALSO LOBBYING FOR STIMULUS

PACKAGES TO HELP US WHEN WE DO

GET BACK UP BECAUSE WE KNOW

THINGS WON'T BE THE SAME.

EVERYONE HAS DEVASTATED.

THE HARDEST THING ABOUT THIS

TIME PERIOD IS THERE AREN'T JOBS

FOR PEOPLE TO GO DO.

AT LEAST BROADWAY FOR YEARS, THE

ACTORS AND THE PEOPLE THAT WORK

ON BROADWAY THAT MIGHT NOT BE

WORKING RIGHT NOW COULD GO AND

DO OTHER THINGS.

BUT THEY CAN'T EVEN DO THAT

RIGHT NOW.

IT'S A VERY UNHEALTHY

ENVIRONMENT FOR EVERYONE'S

ECONOMICS.

>> WE KNOW THIS ISN'T EXACT.

WE KNOW THE LIGHTS WENT OUT.

THERE WERE A NUMBER OF

WONDERFULLY SUCCESSFUL SHOWS ON

BROADWAY AT THE TIME AND SOME

MORE THAT WERE ABOUT TO SHOW UP.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE YET WHICH

OF THOSE WILL BE COMING BACK AND

THEN HOW ABOUT THOSE THAT WERE

SCHEDULED TO OPEN UP DURING THIS

PERIOD, WHICH OF THEM MIGHT

INDEED BE GOING AHEAD WITH THOSE

OPENINGS.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THAT

INFORMATION, HARD INFORMATION

YET?

>> I DO, I DO.

THIS IS ONE OF THE BRIGHT SPOTS.

I'M HAPPY TO SHARE THAT.

WE'VE ONLY HAD THREE SHOWS SAY

THEY WILL NOT BE BACK WHEN

BROADWAY REOPENS.

TWO OF THOSE SHOWS WERE SHOWS

THAT HAD NOT OFFICIALLY OPENED

YET BUT WERE IN PREVIEWS.

AND THEY WILL NOT BE COMING

BACK.

IT WAS "WHO IS AFRAID OF

VIRGINIA WOLF" AND "THE HANG

MAN."

THE DISNEY SHOW "FROZEN" IS NOT

RETURNING.

IT WAS A LONGER RUNNING SHOW.

WE HAVE ABOUT 20 NEW SHOWS THAT

OPENED THIS SEASON ALREADY.

TWO HAD JUST OPENED THE PREVIOUS

WEEK, "WEST SIDE STORY" AND "THE

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY."

WE HAD 16 MORE SHOWS TO OPEN IN

THE FOLLOWING SIX WEEKS AND WE

ONLY KNOW OF THOSE TWO THAT

WON'T BE COMING BACK AT THIS

FO

FOINT: THE JANUARY DATE MAY BE

MAKING PRODUCERS THINK TWICE

ABOUT WHETHER THEY CAN KEEP THE

CAST TOGETHER AND KEEP THINGS

TOGETHER.

SO FAR THE NEWS IS GOOD.

I THINK WE'RE GOING TO GET MOST

OF THEM BACK.

>> THAT'S WONDERFUL NEWS, AS A

MATTER OF FACT, AT A TIME WHEN

WE NEED TO EMBRACE GOOD NEWS, I

THINK EVERYBODY WOULD AGREE WITH

ME THAT'S A LOT OF GOOD NEWS FOR

US TO INDEED EMBRACE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THEN COMING

BACK.

I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE

QUESTIONS ARE, WHAT WILL THINGS

LOOK LIKE, WHAT WILL THEY FEEL

LIKE?

WE KNOW THERE ARE A WIDE VARIETY

OF SAFETY PROTOCOLS THAT PEOPLE

ARE SUGGESTING.

I KNOW YOU HAVE SOME 22 TASK

FORCE GROUPS I BELIEVE WORKING

ON THINGS SUCH AS SAFETY

PROTOCOLS, MARKETING, ALL THOSE

OTHER ELEMENTS OF REOPENING.

WHAT IS YOUR SENSE SO FAR AS TO

WHAT TYPES OF SAFETY PROTOCOLS

MIGHT COME INTO PLAY ONCE THE

THEATERS REOPEN?

>> THAT'S THE HARDEST QUESTION

TO ANSWER BECAUSE THE

INFORMATION CHANGES DAILY.

WE'RE JUST LEARNING THAT THE

AEROSOL EFFECT IS 30 FEET, NOT

SIX FEET.

THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

WE CAN GUESS THAT WE'LL BE IN

MASKS FOR A WHILE.

SOME SAY A YEAR.

SOME SAY TWO TO THREE YEARS.

I HOPE NOT.

IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES, I'LL

BEWARING A MASK.

I THINK YOU CAN EXPECT DIFFERENT

INGRESS AND EGRESS ROUTES INTO

AND OUT OF THE THEATER, AS MANY

CONTACTLESS THINGS WE CAN DO,

WHETHER IT'S CONTACTLESS

TICKETING OR FAUS SETS IN THE

RESTROOMS OR STOIL LET'S.

I THINK YOU CAN EXPECT THE

CONCESSION STANDS, THE SERVERS

TO HAVE ON MASKS AND GLOVES AND

TO SERVE YOU IN PAPER CUPS TO BE

DISCARDED SO THERE'S NOT MUCH

HANDLING.

ONE OF THE AREAS WE'RE REALLY

STUDYING IS THE AREA OF THE HVAC

SYSTEMS.

THERE'S A LOT OF DISAGREEMENT

ABOUT WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN.

THAT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE SOME OF

OUR BUILDINGS ARE 100 YEARS OLD.

THEY'RE GLORIOUS.

THEY'RE HISTORIC, THEY'RE

LANDMARKS.

BUT THEIR AIR CONDITIONING

SYSTEM MAY BE MORE DIFFICULT TO

REPLACE.

SOME EXPERTS ARE SAYING THEY

THINK THE NEW HEPA FILTERS WILL

TAKE CARE OF IT.

OTHERS ARE SAYING YOU HAVE TO

REPLACE THE ENTIRE SYSTEM.

WE'RE LOOKING AT ALL OF THAT.

THE GROUPS STUDYING IT ARE

LOOKING AT EVERY SINGLE THING

ABILITY THAT.

>> LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE

SEATING ARRANGEMENT WITHIN THE

THEATERS.

WE HEARD, FOR INSTANCE, WITH

REGARD TO PROFESSIONAL SPORTS OR

EVEN COLLEGE SPORTS THE NOTION

OF, ALL RIGHT, WE'LL USE

DISTANCING WITHIN THE ARENAS,

WITHIN THE STADIUM, SPREAD

PEOPLE OUT.

WE KNOW THAT BROADWAY HAS A VERY

DIFFERENT FINANCIAL MODEL THAN

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.

IS THAT NOTION OF USING EVERY

FOURTH SEAT, LET'S SAY, IN A

THEATER, SOMETHING THAT IS

REALLY WORKABLE?

>> IT IS NOT FOR BROADWAY.

THE FINANCIAL MODEL JUST DOESN'T

WORK.

WE HAD FOUR OF OUR DIFFERENT

SIZE THEATERS ACTUALLY DO A

FLOOR PLAN SHOWING TRUE SOCIAL

DISTANCING, AND THE BEST CASE

SCENARIO WAS THAT 27% OF THE

SEATS COULD BE FILLED.

THAT WILL NOT PAY THE BILLS, NOT

EVEN COME CLOSE.

WE HAVE THE BEST THEATRICAL

EMPLOYEES IN THE WORLD, THE BEST

DESIGNERS, THE BEST EVERYTHING,

BUT THEY'RE ALSO THE MOST

EXPENSIVE.

SO TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE -- EVEN

THE AUDIENCE WE'D HAVE TO BREAK

THE MODEL AND RESTART.

LOWER RENT IN THE THEATERS,

LOWER FEES TO DESIGNERS, LOWER

WAGES, AND THAT'S NOT A MODEL

THAT ANYONE IS EXCITED ABOUT

LOOKING AT.

EVEN IF YOU COULD SOCIALLY

DISTANCE THE AUDIENCE, THE CAST

AND CREW, THOSE ARE SMALL

BACKSTAGE AREAS FOR THE MOST

PART, AND THE INABILITY -- THE

TEN-SECOND COSTUME CHANGES IS

JUST IMPOSSIBLE.

SO THERE HAS TO BE MEDICAL

SOLUTIONS.

THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS GIVING

US CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM ARE SOME OF

THE THINGS WE'RE LEARNING.

THERE'S NOW THE 15-SECOND TEST

THAT'S VERY RELIABLE.

IF YOU COULD TEST EVERY CAST

MEMBER EVERY DAY, SAY AT 9:00 IN

THE MORNING, YOU FIND OUT

WHETHER THEY'RE ALL WELL, THEN

YOU COULD FEEL COMFORTABLE THAT

THEY COULD GO ON AND PERFORM.

THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS

THAT WE'RE INVESTIGATING AND

THAT WE HOPE WILL ENABLE US TO

GET BACK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

>> LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

I HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF

FOR US TO CHAT.

WE KNOW BROADWAY WAS HAVING JUST

A MAGNIFICENT YEAR.

I THINK I SAW THE BEST YEAR EVER

IN THE LAST YEAR OR SO.

LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR LEVEL OF

OPTIMISM.

WE STARTED THIS CONVERSATION

WITH YOUR LEVEL, LET'S START

WITH YOUR LEVEL OF OPTIMISM.

WILL WE GET BACK THERE?

HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL

TAKE BROADWAY TO GET BACK THERE?

>> I THINK WE'LL BE BACK.

THERE'S SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT

THE SHARED EXPERIENCE OF SITTING

IN AN AUDIENCE AND CRYING AND

LAUGHING AND EXPERIENCING THE

JOY THAT BROADWAY PROVIDES.

I WOULD BE UNREALISTIC TO THINK

WE COULD ACCOMPLISH WHAT OUR

LAST SEASON DELIVERED WHICH IS

14.8 MILLION THEATER GROWERS,

WHICH IS MORE THAN ALL TEN

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMS PUT

TOGETHER DELIVER.

THE ECONOMISTS WE'RE LISTENING

TO ARE TELLING US THAT TOURISM

FOR NEW YORK CITY AND TRAVEL FOR

NEW YORK IS MOST LIKELY GOING TO

SLOWLY RAMP UP, AND WE MIGHT BE

BACK THERE BY THE FIRST QUARTER

OF 2024.

>> THAT'S A FRIGHTENING THING TO

THINK ABOUT BECAUSE THE MARGINS

ARE SLIM ON BROADWAY.

BUT WE'LL BE BACK.

>> THAT'S THE BEST NEWS WE CAN

HEAR.

SO MANY FOLKS ARE BROADWAY FANS.

TO HEAR FROM YOU ESPECIALLY THE

SHOWS THAT ARE COMING BACK AND

TALKING ABOUT OUR ESTIMATES OF

WHEN IT MIGHT HAPPEN ARE

CERTAINLY SOMETHING THAT ARE

REAF

REAFFIRMING FOR US.

ONCE AGAINST OUR THANKS, THE

PRESIDENT OF THE BROADWAY

LEAGUE.

CHARLOTTE, MY HOPE IS I'LL GET

TO SEE YOU IN A THEATER SOME

TIME SOON.

>> HOPEFULLY.

WITH VERY A LOT OF GREAT ONES

COMING BACK.

>> YOU BE WELL.

LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING AGAIN.

>> THANK YOU, JACK.

THANKS FOR COVERING US.

>>> WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS," I'M

JACK FORD.

AS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS

CONTINUED ITS ASSAULT ON OUR

SOCIETY, ONE GROUP IN PARTICULAR

HAS BECOME VERY VULNERABLE, AND

YET AS VULNERABLE AS THIS GROUP

IS, IT'S NOT RECEIVING THE RIGHT

ATTENTION AND THE PROTECTION AND

THE ASSISTANCE THAT IT REQUIRES.

THAT GROUP IS THE YOUNG

HOMELESS, TEENAGERS, YOUNG

ADULTS, PARTICULARLY SUSCEPTIBLE

TO THE DANGERS OF THE

CORONAVIRUS.

COVENANT HOUSE WHICH IS THE

LARGEST PRIVATELY FUNDED AGENCY

IN THE COUNTRY DEALING WITH

YOUNG HOMELESSNESS HAS BEEN IN

THE FOREFRONT, FOR MORE THAN

FOUR DECADES, DEALING WITH MORE

THAN 1 MILLION YOUNG HOMELESS

PEOPLE, WE'RE PLEASED TO HAVE

JOINING US SISTER NANCY DOWNING,

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF

COVENANT HOUSE NEW YORK.

SISTER NANCY JOINS US AS PART OF

OUR CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE

EXAMINING POVERTY AND

OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

SISTER NANCY, WELCOME.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME

TODAY.

>> LET'S START OFF WITH A

BACKDROP FOR OUR CONVERSATION.

BY ME ASKING YOU TO GIVE US A

NUMBER, GENERAL NUMBER OF HOW

MANY YOUNG HOMELESS PEOPLE WE'RE

TALKING ABOUT IN THE COUNTRY, IN

THIS COUNTRY AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

>> IT'S ESTIMATED IN ANY GIVEN

YEAR ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, WE'LL

SEE 4.2 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE

BETWEEN THE AGES OF 13 AND 24

EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS, 4.2

MILLION.

I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THAT ENOUGH

BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE

THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS.

THEY THINK THEY CAN JUST GO BACK

HOME TO THEIR PARENTS.

IT'S JUST NOT THE TRUTH.

>> I THINK THIS IS AN IMPORTANT

DISTINCTION TO MAKE.

THERE ARE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE

HOMELESS WITH THEIR FAMILIES,

AND OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE

HOMELESS ALONE.

THAT NUMBER YOU JUST GAVE US, IS

THAT THE NUMBER YOU JUST GAVE US

THE NUMBER OF THEM THAT ARE

HOMELESS ALONE.

>> YES.

THEY'RE ALONE.

DON'T HAVE AN ADULT WITH THEM.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT COVENANT

HOUSE, THEN WE'LL GET INTO

SPECIFICS.

WHAT TYPES OF SERVICES ARE

PROVIDED?

>> WE'RE BEST KNOWN FOR

PROVIDING SHELTER TO YOUNG

PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

AND YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN

TRAFFICKED.

I THINK MORE THAN SHELTER WE

PROVIDE ALL THE BASIC NEEDS FOR

A YOUNG PERSON.

WHEN THEY COME THROUGH OUR DOOR

WE'RE FIRST ASKING THEM, DO YOU

NEED SOMETHING TO EAT?

DO YOU NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER?

DO YOU NEED FRESH CLOTHING?

DO YOU NEED TO JUST SLEEP FOR A

WHILE AND THEN TALK WITH US

ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER NEEDS.

WE'RE FOCUSING ON NOT JUST THE

BASIC NEEDS, FOOD, SHELTER,

CLOTHING, THOSE KIND OF THINGS.

WE'RE LOOKING AT MEDICAL NEEDS.

MANY OF THEM HAVEN'T SEEN

DOCTORS IN A LONG TIME AND HAVE

HEALTH CARE ISSUES FROM BEING

OUT ON THE STREETS HOMELESS.

MANY HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES,

EITHER FROM THE TRAUMA OF BEING

HOMELESS OR THE TRAUMA OF HAVING

VIOLENCE IN THEIR FAMILIES OR IN

THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS OR THEY COME

WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES NOT

RELATED TO HOMELESSNESS BUT

EXACERBATED BY HOMELESSNESS.

EDUCATION SERVICES ARE REALLY

CRITICAL.

MANY OF THEM HAVE BEEN

DISCONNECTED FROM EDUCATION.

WE TRY TO GET THEM EITHER BACK

INTO SCHOOL OR INTO GED CLASSES.

OBVIOUSLY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

ARE CRITICAL AS WELL.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE ON YOUR

OWN, YOU NEED TO HAVE A WAY OF

EARNING MONEY TO BE ABLE TO TAKE

CARE OF YOURSELF AND STILL

MAKING SURE THAT THEY HAVE

EMPLOYMENT IS A CRITICAL NEED AS

WELL.

IN ADDITION TO THOSE SERVICES WE

OFFER LEGAL SERVICES, YOUTH

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES AND A WHOLE

HOST OF OTHER THINGS WE DO FOR

THEM WHEN THEY'RE WITH US.

>> ON AN AVERAGE, HOW MANY YOUNG

HOMELESS PEOPLE WILL BE WITH YOU

IN COVENANT HOUSE NEW YORK ON A

PARTICULAR DAY?

>> RIGHT NOW WE HAVE OVER 300

YOUNG PEOPLE STAYING WITH US.

WE HAVE ABOUT 130 STAYING WITH

US IN OUR SHELTER.

WE HAVE ABOUT ANOTHER 100 YOUNG

PEOPLE THAT ARE IN OUR

TRANSITIONAL LIVING PROGRAMS

WHERE THEY CAN LIVE FOR UP TO

TWO YEARS.

AND THEN WE HAVE CLOSE TO 100 IN

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

WHERE THEY LIVE IN APARTMENT

SETTINGS WHERE THEY'RE LEARNING

TO LIVE ON THEIR OWN WITH THE

SUPPORT OF COVENANT HOUSE.

>> I MENTIONED IN OUR

INTRODUCTION THAT THIS IS A

GROUP THAT'S PARTICULARLY

VULNERABLE.

WHY IS THAT SO?

LET'S FOCUS ON THE CORONAVIRUS

PANDEMIC HERE.

WHY IS THIS GROUP, YOUNG

HOMELESS PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY

VULNERABLE, BOTH MEDICALLY AND

PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY?

>> FIRST OF ALL, WHEN YOU'RE

HOMELESS AND ON THE STREETS, YOU

DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHY

FOOD TO EAT.

SO YOU'RE NOT EATING HEALTHY.

YOU DON'T HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO

SLEEP SO YOU'RE NOT SLEEPING

WELL IF YOU'RE SLEEPING AT ALL.

YOU DON'T HAVE A PLACE TO CLEAN

UP OR WASH YOUR HANDS

FREQUENTLY.

IN THE PANDEMIC, EVEN MORE SO

YOU DON'T HAVE THE BASIC THINGS

YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO

SHELTER-IN-PLACE.

WHEN FOLKS ARE TOLD TO STAY

HOME, THEY DON'T HAVE A HOME TO

STAY.

>> WE'RE SPEAKING ONCE AGAIN

WITH SISTER NANCY DOWNING, THE

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT COVENANT

HOUSE NEW YORK.

WHAT ABOUT THE ENHANCED

SUSCEPTIBILITY OF THE HOMELESS

IN GENERAL, IN TERMS OF BEING IN

HOMELESS SHELTERS AND IN HOMES,

HOW DOES THAT ALL PLAY OUT?

>> I THINK WHAT WE LEARNED AT

THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS VIRUS

IS WE HAD TO PROVIDE -- NORMALLY

WE HAVE THREE TO FOUR YOUNG

PEOPLE IN A BEDROOM, AND SO WHAT

WE DID WAS WE CLOSED DOWN OUR

OFFICES AND MADE THEM INTO

BEDROOMS SO WE COULD MAKE SURE

EACH YOUNG PERSON HAD SIX FEET

OF DISTANCE IN THEIR BEDROOMS,

SO WE HAVE MAYBE TWO OR THREE

YOUNG PEOPLE IN A BEDROOM SO

WE'RE GIVING THEM MORE SPACE,

NOT MAKING THEM MORE SUSCEPTIBLE

TO THE VIRUS WHEN THEY'RE IN OUR

SHELTER.

WE WANT THE SHELTER TO BE A SAFE

PLACE FOR THEM TO BE.

WE DON'T HAVE A BIG CONGREGATE

ROOM WHERE THEY'RE ALL STAYING.

THERE ARE SEPARATE BEDROOMS, TWO

OR THREE IN A BEDROOM WITH SIX

FEET BETWEEN THEM.

IN OUR GENERAL SPACES, WE ARE

MAKING SURE THAT THEY'RE WEARING

MASKS, KEEPING SIX FEET OF

DISTANCE, THE SAME WITH OUR

STAFF.

ALSO, WE'RE CLEANING, ENDLESSLY

CLEANING THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

YES EVEN PURCHASED ONE OF THE

ELECTROSTATIC SPRAY GUNS TO BE

ABLE TO SPRAY DOWN LOCATIONS

LIKE THEY DO IN THE HOSPITALS TO

MAKE SURE WE'RE GIVING EXTRA

CLEANLINESS TO THESE SPACES TO

ENSURE THE SAFETY OF BOTH OUR

STAFF AND OUR YOUTH IN OUR

SHELTER.

>> ONE OF THE THINGS WE'VE SEEN

FREQUENTLY WHEN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN

TALKING ABOUT THIS, STAYING AT

HOME, IS THE NOTION -- THE IDEA

OF BEING HOME WITH FAMILY AND

SHARING WHAT IS A DIFFICULT

EXPERIENCE, BUT YOU HAVE FAMILY

TO SHARE IT WITH.

WE'VE HAD PEOPLE ON OUR PROGRAM

TALKING ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICALLY

THAT CAN BE SO SUPPORTIVE FOR

PEOPLE IN TIMES OF CRISIS.

SO WHAT THEN DO WE SEE WITH

THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DON'T

HAVE FAMILY TO SHELTER WITH?

>> SO OUR STAFF ARE HAVING LOTS

OF CONVERSATIONS WITH OUR YOUNG

PEOPLE.

OUR RESIDENT ADVISERS ARE

MEETING FREQUENT WITH THEM, OUR

CASE MANAGERS.

WE ALSO HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF

SOCIAL WORKERS.

FOR YOUNG PEOPLE FINDING THIS

PARTICULARLY TRAUMATIZING, WE

WANT TO ENSURE THAT FROM AN

EMOTIONAL STANDPOINT, THEIR

EMOTIONAL HEALTH IS WELL CARED

FOR.

WE HAVE OUR SOCIAL WORKERS ON

CALL PRETTY MUCH AROUND THE

CLOCK SO IF A YOUNG PERSON IS

GOING THROUGH SOME KIND OF

TRAUMA REACTION, THAT THERE'S

SOMEBODY THERE THEY CAN TALK TO.

OUR STAFF ARE REALLY DOING A

WONDERFUL JOB OF BEING PRESENT

TO THEM, JUST SITTING AND

LISTENING TO THEM, HAVING

LISTENING SESSIONS.

OUR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT TEAM IS

ALSO WORKING WITH THEM.

SOMETIMES IT'S OVER JUST A

CASUAL CONVERSATION.

SOMETIMES IT'S OVER A CARD GAME.

SO WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE THINGS

PRETTY NORMAL FOR OUR YOUNG

PEOPLE, AS NORMAL AS WE CAN.

SO HAVING GAME NIGHTS, WAYS

WE'RE INTERACTING THAT ARE MORE

PLAYFUL AND FUN BUT IN SMALLER

GROUPS WHERE THERE'S SIX FEET OF

SEPARATION BETWEEN US.

THERE'S LOTS OF LITTLE GROUP

INTERACTIONS HAPPENING.

WE HAVE ARTWORK -- ART CLASSES

HAPPENING WITH THEM TO GIVE THEM

THAT AS AN OUTLET.

MUSIC TO GIVE THEM THAT AS AN

OUTLET, SOME WRITING WITH A

VIRTUAL WRITING TEACHER WHO

COMES SO THAT FOR OUR YOUNG

PEOPLE WHO FOR POETRY IS A

DESIRE FOR THEM OR A TALENT FOR

THEM, I SHOULD SAY, THEY HAVE

THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.

BUT TRYING TO REALLY MAKE THINGS

AS NORMALIZED AS WE CAN FOR THEM

AND OFFERING THOSE SPACES WHEN

THEY HAVE THOSE MOMENTS WHERE

THEY REALLY FEEL THEY NEED TO

TALK SO THEY HAVE SOMEWHERE TO

SHARE WHAT THEIR CONCERNS ARE.

>> HAVE YOU SEEN AN UPTICK IN

THE NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO

ARE COMING TO YOU IN THE LAST

COUPLE MONTHS SINCE THE

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS STRUCK?

>> WE'VE SEEN A PRETTY STEADY

FLOW OF YOUNG PEOPLE COMING IN.

WE HAVEN'T HAD TO TURN ANYONE

AWAY BECAUSE OF SPACE, SO WE

STILL HAVE BEDS AVAILABLE.

WE'RE FEELING WE'RE VERY

FORTUNATE IN THAT WAY.

THE CONCERN IS IN THE MONTHS TO

COME, IF THE ECONOMY DOESN'T

TURN TO THE BETTER VERY SOON, WE

PROBABLY WILL SEE MANY MORE

YOUNG PEOPLE COME TO US AS WE

DID WITH THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN

BACK IN 2008.

THAT'S THE CONCERN GOING

FORWARD, IS THAT WE MAY SEE A

HUGE INFLUX OF YOUNG PEOPLE

NEEDING OUR SERVICES.

SO WE'RE TRYING TO PREPARE FOR

THAT AS WELL.

>> WOULD YOU HAVE CURRENTLY THE

ABILITY, THE FACILITIES, THE

WHEREWITHAL, TO HANDLE AN

INCREASE, A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE

OF PEOPLE COMING TO YOU?

>> IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A

CHALLENGE FOR US.

WE HAVE THE ABILITY -- WE'RE IN

THE MIDST OF A BUILDING PROJECT

AS WELL AT THIS MOMENT.

WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF BUILDING A

NEW FACILITY.

THE ONE THAT WE'RE IN IS RATHER

DATED.

SO IT WILL BE A BIT OF A

CHALLENGE FOR US.

WE WILL CERTAINLY DO EVERYTHING

WE CAN AND WORK WITH OTHER

PARTNERS THAT WORK IN THIS FIELD

TO MAKE SURE EVERY YOUNG HAS A

SPACE TO BE A SAFE SPACE WHEN

THEY NEED IT.

>> YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT

SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DO ARE

PREPARING THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO

GET THEM BACK OUT INTO THE

WORLD.

BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT

WORLD IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE AND

WE DON'T KNOW WHEN ANYBODY CAN

TRULY GET BACK OUT INTO THAT

WORLD.

SO HOW DOES THAT UNCERTAINTY

IMPACT THE WORK THAT YOU ALL ARE

DOING?

>> THE DIFFICULTY IS MOST OF

THESE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE BEEN

VERY TRAUMATIZED IN THEIR SHORT

LIVES.

SO THIS IS JUST ADDING A LAYER

OF TRAUMA TO THEM.

MANY YOUNG PERSONS WHO HAVE

GOTTEN INTO THEIR OWN APARTMENT,

THEY'RE ABLE TO BE ON THEIR OWN,

SO THEY WORKED HARD TO GET TO

THAT PLACE AND SUDDENLY THE

CARPET IS RIPPED OUT FROM UNDER

THEIR FEET AND THEY'VE LOST

THEIR JOB NOW.

SO WE'RE DEALING WITH SOME OF

THAT TRAUMA THAT'S HAPPENING FOR

OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY WERE JUST

GETTING GOING.

AND THEN THEY LOST THE GROUND

THEY FELT THEY GAINED.

WORKING WITH THEM IN SAYING,

OKAY, THIS IS A MOMENTARY

SETBACK.

LET'S LOOK AT WHAT'S THE NEXT

OPPORTUNITY THAT'S GOING TO BE

AVAILABLE FOR YOU AND WORKING

WITH EMPLOYERS OUT THERE TO SAY,

LET'S NOT FORGET OUR YOUNG

PEOPLE OUT THERE.

SO UNFORTUNATELY RIGHT NOW IT'S

SORT OF A MIXED BAG, GETTING

YOUNG PEOPLE EMPLOYMENT RIGHT

NOW, THE EMPLOYMENT THAT'S

AVAILABLE IN WAREHOUSES AND

SUPER MARKETS AND THOSE TYPES OF

PLACES THAT NEED ADDITIONAL

STAFFING, AND SO WE'RE ABLE TO

GET YOUTH SOME EMPLOYMENT THERE,

BUT WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT'S

THE FUTURE GOING TO BRING.

THE LAST DOWNTURN OUR YOUTH WERE

VERY NEGATIVELY IMPACTED.

THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET ENTRY

LIFL JOBS AT, SAY, McDONALD'S.

WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT.

WE HAVE OUR EMPLOYMENT

SPECIALIST OUT THERE RIGHT NOW

TRYING TO WORK WITH THE

EMPLOYERS, AS THE EMPLOYERS TRY

TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S NEXT.

BUT IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT NOT TO

FORGET TO YOUNG PEOPLE AS THE

ECONOMY TURNS BACK HOPEFULLY TO

THE POSITIVE.

>> LAST QUESTION.

FOR ANYBODY WATCHING AND

LISTENING TO OUR CONVERSATION

AND UNDERSTANDS YOU'RE PRIVATELY

FUNDED AND SAY THIS IS A GOOD

CAUSE, HOW CAN THEY HELP?

>> WELL, CERTAINLY THEY CAN GO

TO COVENANTHOUSE.ORG, THERE'S A

DONATION LINK ON THERE IF THEY

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT US.

THAT'S ONE WAY TO HELP.

WE DO SEVERAL SLEEP-OUTS

THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

WE'VE HAD TO GO TO DOING VIRTUAL

SLEEP-OUTS.

THEY CAN ORGANIZE FAMILY AND

FRIENDS TO DO A SLEEP-OUT IN

THEIR BACK YARD AND RAISE FUNDS

THAT WAY.

IF THEY WANT TO GO TO

SLEEPOUTAMERICA.ORG, WE HAVE THE

TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR THEM TO

LEARN ABOUT YOUTH HOMELESSNESS.

IT'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO

RAISE FUNDS FOR HOMELESS YOUTH.

>> SISTER NANCY, AGAIN,

WONDERFUL WORK BEING DONE BY

COVENANT HOUSE.

CHALLENGING WORK CERTAINLY IN

THIS CHALLENGING TIME.

WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING TIME

TALKING TO US.

GOOD LUCK AS YOU MOVE FORWARD.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF

COVENANT HOUSE NEW YORK.

YOU BE WELL, SISTER.

TAKE CARE.

>> YOU, TOO.

TAKE CARE.

BYE-BYE.

>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE

POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR

WACHENHEIM THE THIRD, SUE AN A

AND SIMON B ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKER BURKE, JANET

PRINTEDAL SIDE HER, CHERYL AND

PHILLIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD

AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND

JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C AND

TINA SONE FOUNDATION.