“A rebuilt branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is opening with a new feature: on the seven floors right above the library, there will be 49 affordable housing units. Michelle de la Uz, executive director of Fifth Avenue Committee, a nonprofit that builds affordable housing and which partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library on the project, said she’s excited to see how those tenants engage with the library, and that the branch’s programming and resources could help people feel less isolated.
Linda Johnson, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, and de la Uz hope to see it replicated, throughout New York and beyond. “There’s an urgent need for affordable housing, and there are a lot of underutilized libraries that need modernization anyway,” de la Uz says. ‘Why not kill two birds with one stone?'”
Chris Indorf, the assistant superintendent for schools in Biddeford and Saco, said that before the pandemic, student homelessness was typically temporary — just a month or so — as a relatively ample housing supply made it somewhat easier for families to find a new apartment.
“Now the homelessness seems to be endemic. It’s lasting an entire year, or it’s spanning years,” Indorf said. “Most of those cases aren’t destitution — aren’t tents out behind the Starbucks. They tend to be intergenerational, families living with other families. Part of that is due to the economy. And a good part of that is owing to just extremely limited housing stock in Biddeford and Saco, and what is available is exorbitantly expensive.”
“Nearly one in four transgender young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 experience homelessness, nearly double the rate of their peers, according to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQIA+ young people.”
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2022 Time:2:00PM – 3:30PM ET
As we have witnessed the social, financial, and mental health challenges of our patrons escalate during the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries must connect and build relationships with local providers focused on these needs so that we may serve our communities as effectively as possible. This session will explore why it is imperative that libraries connect with social service providers in their communities, how to cultivate these connections, and tips to make sure the agencies you work with are effective, ethical partners.
“This is going to be getting more materials into the hands of more Scott County residents, which brings us closer to the library’s mission — connecting all residents with resources, support and opportunity,” Scott County Library Director Jake Grussing said. “I think one of the best ways to do that is to create a penalty-free, welcoming environment for anybody who wants to use the library.”
In announcing the new policy, the library said its board of trustees “is dedicated to creating a library that is more open, equitable and understanding of our community,” and explained that “eliminating fines for overdue materials means more people in our community have greater access to the Library’s vital materials, resources and services.”