Resources available to aid city’s homeless

Posted 8/25/21

A second forumn on homelessness and rent control in the City of Newburgh produced both words of encouragement and dire warnings last week.

Deacon Donald Fryar, founder of the newly formed …

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Resources available to aid city’s homeless


A second forumn on homelessness and rent control in the City of Newburgh produced both words of encouragement and dire warnings last week.

Deacon Donald Fryar, founder of the newly formed not-for-profit organization, True Insight Inc., initiated the community event last Monday in the Courtyard of the Newburgh Free Library, as a follow up to an earlier program in June.

Fryar noted that departing Governor Andrew Cuomo had pushed through some restrictions on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Governor Cuomo navigated us through the pandemic,” Fryar said. “Give credit where credit is due. We wish him well.”

Fryar welcomed a single mother, identified only as Lauren, to tell her story of a navigation through homelessness.

Lauren moved to Newburgh three years ago from Dallas, Texas to be in a relationship with the father of her son. She found a place at City Terrace.

“It was just a room,” she said, but it was all they had until she could find an apartment on South Robinson Avenue. Her second-floor apartment had no electricity of its own. Power came from an extension cord that was plugged into a first-floor outlet. There were issues with plumbing, bedbugs and mice.

She would wait in the apartment for the plumber, electrician or whomever was scheduled to come and fix something. Sometimes that meant canceling her own medical appointments. Sometimes the maintenance person didn’t show.

She stopped paying rent and the landlord took her to court. Social Services eventually placed the family in an Econo Lodge. Having no reliable source of transportation created other problems.

“I paid $60 just to get groceries,” she said.

Lauren and the father of her child eventually got jobs, but then separated. Lauren and her child ended up in another hotel. She later found another apartment with no heat, with an air mattress for a bed. The air mattress had a hole, forcing mother and child to sleep on the floor.

Still, she says, things are starting to look up. She has a job as a secretary and a good outlook. She hopes to stay in Newburgh.

“Make it a habitable and affordable place to live,” she said.

Fryar said Lauren was fortunate to find a place.

“We as the people need to take charge,” he said. “More power to the people. Make them accountable.”

Rev. Jesse Howard, chair of the board of Project Life, said Lauren is one of the many success stories from his organization.

“As she left Project Life,” Howard said, “we didn’t leave her.”

Howard said Project Life can provide assistance through the Rapid Rehousing Program. It can hep pay the rent or the cost of utilities for up to one year.

“We understand the necessity of having worth and value,” Howard said, adding that Project Life also needs more volunteers and would welcome anyone.

Fryar said there are many resources available for those in need, including the very library on which they were standing, and the Newburgh Ministry, which should have a couple of new shelters available by next spring.

With the voice of optimism, though, came a warning.

“We are not exempt,” he said, “from being homeless.”

New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program: 1-844NY1RENT (844-691-7368) or

Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson: 845-562-0888 or
Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand Street,
Legal services of the Hudson Valley, 845-569-9110.
Exodus Prison re-entry program: 845-565-2700
Newburgh Ministry, 9 Johnston Street, Newburgh. 845-561-0070
Catholic Charities, 280 Broadway, Lower Level, Newburgh. 845-562-8255.
Newburgh Mental Health Association, 280 Broadway, Newburgh, 845-561-7326.
Project Life, 172 First Street, Newburgh. 845-569-9334.
Donald Fryar, True Insight Inc., 845-541-2006.