Category Archives: Digital Journalism

Data-Driven Story #1

Home Sweet Home (Less)

Meet Abdul, born and raised in New York.   The New York Times were able to sit down with Abdul and learn more about his struggles being a teenager living on the streets of New York, so his voice could be heard.  At the age of 17 he became homeless. His mother had died five years earlier, and he was living in South Carolina without a support system.  He was all-alone in the big city, nobody to rely on or no bed to rest his head.  Now at 23, Abdul is trying to make things work, but still faces many obstacles.  Abdul, along with the thousands of children in homeless shelters in New York City, want people to realize that being homeless is sometimes your only option.

“I, we, didn’t choose to be here,” Abdul said.

Living in New York City is very expensive. As reported by America Fact Finder, the median household income in 2014 was $52,737 per year. However, the median monthly housing cost for renter-occupied housing units in the city for 2014 was $1,148 per month. So a significant portion of individuals’ paychecks is used to pay for housing.

These high numbers contribute to the growing homeless population in New York City, especially the homeless children population.

“I, we, didn’t choose to be here,” Abdul said.

According to America Fact Finder, in 2014, 20.6% of the population in New York City lives below the poverty level.  More importantly, 22.6% of children under the age of eighteen years old live below the poverty level in New York City.

According to the New York Times, since 2014 New York City is seeing a rise in the homeless population, describing this issue as an epidemic. However,

according to Mayor De Blasio, the homeless population in New York City is decreasing, although the annual census for 2014 and 2015 shows no significant change.

Based on the New York City’s government data, the winter months, more specifically January of 2014 and 2015 showed an increase amount of homeless children on the streets or in shelters.  In January 2014 there was a total of 22,210 children in homeless shelters. By January 2015, 2,734 more children moved into homeless shelters in New York City. For example, in 2015 there were a total of 31,079 students in first through fifth grade, with each class holding more than 30 children, equivalent to 6,135 children in a typical New York City elementary school becoming homeless in one year.

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Although Mayor De Blasio is hopeful that the homeless population is decreasing, the New York Times is accurate by describing the homeless population, especially the homeless children population as an epidemic that is containing to increase as years go on, especially when the cost of living in New York City is continuing to rise.

According to the New York Times, many nonprofit organizations have noticed the rise of homeless individuals in shelters and are working to provide every family with a safe home to call their own.

Especially the homeless children population as an epidemic that is containing to increase as years go on, especially when the cost of living in New York City is continuing to rise.

The New York Times interviewed Ms. Howard, who has experienced being homeless when she was younger. Now she is part of the nonprofit organization, Safe Horizon, a non-profit focused on homeless youth and domestic violence victims.

“There’s not a lot of resources for these young people. But there are a lot of times when there is no option. There’s no beds,” said Ms. Howard.

The winter months in 2014 and 2015 including November, December, and January have shown a rise of homeless children in shelters.  This can be because non-profit organizations work hard to help provide homeless children a place to stay indoors, rather than stay out on the streets when the temperatures plunge and become dangerous.  For example, in January 2015, there were a total of 24,974 children in homeless shelters. Contrary, in July 2015, there were only a total of 22,956, a difference of 2,018.

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Many of us only see our home as a place to sleep; however, a house provides us with security, warmth, and a place to call ours.  Luckily, many non-profit organizations, including the Bowery Mission strive to help the homeless population in the city. Since 1879, the Bowery Mission provides each men, women, and children food, shelter, clothes, and medical care. Especially, through the use of prayer and faith, the Bowery Mission transforms individuals’ lives so they can feel hopeful, happy, and motivated live a more fulfilling life.

Many of us only see our home as a place to sleep; however, a house provides us with security, warmth, and a place to call ours. 

Many of us who have walked the streets of New York City have encountered a homeless person. Caroline Lillicraf, a junior nursing student at Fairfield University, had the opportunity to intern last summer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem. On her commute to the hospital, she would encounter homeless people of all ages on the streets. After spending her summer in New York City, Lillicraf realized how many individuals lack life’s basic necessities, like food, water, and clothing.

Lillicraf realized how many individuals lack life’s basic necessities, like food, water, and clothing.

Lillicraf said, “It is time to shine a light on the homeless population in New York City; especially the children who are alone on the streets or in shelters.”

Fairfield University’s IRHA Presents Spring Fest

Jason Moragas, president of IRHA said, “I can honestly say that this year’s Spring Fest is going to be our best yet. We believe that we will break our record for attendance”.

IRHA, which stands for Inter-Residential Housing Association is a student run organization at Fairfield University. IRHA focuses on creating a clean, safe, and respectful, living community on campus while striving for academic, social, and personal development. This organization works with Residence life to plan events and resolve issues within the dorm buildings on campus.

21194_10152875134003403_5752607294595954929_nThis year, Spring Fest, one of IRHA’s major events was held on Saturday, April 18th, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. in the Quad. At Spring Fest, students enjoyed live music acts, surprise giveaways, bounce castles, a caricature artist, balloon animals, snow cones, a photo booth, cotton candy, a dunk tank, food trucks, and much more.

Connor Goz, director of programming said, “We started planning for Spring Fest in November. It was a long progress that slowly developed and picked up during the months of February and March”.

The members of IRHA said that their hard work paid off and are very proud of the successful event.

Jerika Martinez, co-director of diversity initiatives said, “The long planning process was worth it because this year Spring Fest was bigger than ever.”

Certainly, Spring Fest was the highlight of many students second semester at Fairfield. This event will continue to be a tradition every spring on campus.

Jennie Chieco, director of community outreach said, “In the future, students will remember this year and be more likely to attend again.”

Regarding next year’s Spring Fest, IRHA hopes to increase the amount of students who participate so Spring Fest will be even more successful.

The members of IRHA said that for next year they would not change a lot of things because the event was so well run this year. However, next year they hope for more giveaways and a bigger stage for the musical performers.

There is never a dull moment at Fairfield University. After a long winter, Spring Fest proved to be a successful day where students spent time outside, soaking up the sunshine, and enjoying time with their friends.

Didn’t have a chance to attend Spring Fest this year? Watch this video to experience all the fun.