The crisis of homelessness has been growing and has been very much on the minds of New Yorkers lately, and our New Yorkers of the Year are going the extra mile to help those in need. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
You've seen the despair all year. Fifty-eight-thousand people in shelters. Four thousand more on the streets. A crisis many years in the making and in desperate need of action.
"A mistake that the administration made early on was not, if you will, validating what we all were seeing. The problem was increasing," said Police Commissioner William Bratton. "It has exploded in the last two years."
Maybe the city didn't recognize the problem early on, but you did. People like Tavis Eaton, who founded "Hoodies for the Homeless." If you want to see his band perform, you need to donate a hoodie.
"Growing up in New York, I see the homeless population escalate. Just walking down Broadway, every block there is a homeless person," Eaton said. "It just made me want to do something."
Andre McDonnell is also doing something about it. His nonprofit "It’s From The Sole" donates sneakers every week.
Michelle Carrera is also going above and beyond. Her group "Chilis On Wheels" hands out homemade vegan chili to those without a home.
"Everyone deserves compassion and empathy," Carrera says. "We're trained to not see people. We are going down the street and we are in our world. We're looking on our cellphones, and we forget to connect to people."
Noby Rivera doesn't forget. She treats every person who comes through the doors at the New York Common Pantry with dignity.
"I've come sometimes where I'm not feeling that great but I end up leaving feeling great, because I’ve had some kind of communication with her," says Michelle Vierra, a client of the New York Common Pantry. "When people are in crisis or when people lose things they have, you need that."
Elisabeth Mason delivers for those in need. She founded "Single Stop" to connect her neighbors to untapped services.
"I started at WCC homeless, hungry and depressed, and I graduated happy, with a place to stay and a bright future," says Kyrie Philbrook, who received help from Single Stop.
You make the future bright. You counsel, you comfort, you clothe, you nourish, on the grassroots level, one person at a time.
That's why all of those helping people who are homeless are our New Yorkers of the Year.