For many years, the Nassau County Department of Social Services, has been placing homeless families with children, among single homeless individuals in three rundown motels located in Jericho. There are currently* 30 families living in the motels with twenty* children enrolled in the Jericho school district. These motels are unsupervised, unregulated, do not offer any services, and
have no certifications of any kind. It was discovered that families were living in inhumane, impoverished conditions of neglect with no access to a hot meal. Room doors that lead directly to the outside, pose an additional threat to the safety of these families and their children. This "motel system" is an outdated approach to homelessness that has been failing these families and our community for years. (*Oct 2020)
In July, a non-profit organization called Community Housing Innovations (CHI) took over the lease at the former Hampton Inn on Jericho Turnpike to establish the Jericho Family Support Center. This facility is located just a few blocks away from the motels and is only for families with children. It will restore their dignity and give them stability. They will have security with 24-hour staff, 100 security cameras, three hot meals a day and childcare services. The CHI system at the JFSC will provide services that will help these families transition into permanent housing 15-18 months faster than the motel system and costs $40k-$60k less.
This facility was reviewed by the New York State and was found to be suitable for the transitional housing plan proposed by CHI. With 80 rooms, the JFSC can accommodate 80 families and only 19 children have chosen to attend school in Jericho.
When complete, it will be the first facility in Nassau County to receive NY State certification required as of Jan 2020.
There is a small faction of our school district community suing to block the Jericho Family Support Center from opening to keep these children out of our schools. They call themselves “Concerned Jericho Parents." They want to ensure these families and children remain in the rundown Jericho motels and deny them dignity, warm meals, stability, safety, and security.
This group has frightened some of our community into believing the JFSC poses some sort of threat to our community that has no basis in reality.
In fact, it will improve our community by ultimately shutting down the shelter motels. Protests by this group has tarnished our community image as elitists who lack empathy and compassion. By actively supporting it we can not only repair our image, but we show the world that we proudly stand up for values of decency, compassion, and dignity for humanity; the values our children are taught in schools in Jericho. In elementary school our kids learn to be “Bucket Fillers” and in middle school they learn how to stand up and not stand by while someone is being bullied. These families are facing tough times and now they are being bullied and they need our support. Their children need safety, security, stability. Now is the time for us to stand up and unite as a community in kindness and represent to the world who Jericho really is. Jericho is kind. Do not let the angry voices of the incompassionate few misrepresent us or divide us. Let’s let these families know that we are a kind community and we are rooting for their success and the success of their kids. Let’s proudly support the Jericho Family Support Center.
When facing anger and fear, kindness is your strongest weapon. Love always wins.