Another HRA Employee Caught Stealing

NYC HRA

According to the New York Daily News, on Thursday, a New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) employee pled guilty to the crimes of “wire fraud conspiracy and federal program theft.”

The HRA employee grossly misappropriated $300,000 of taxpayers’ money, that should have been assigned to needy New Yorkers, by criminally assigning the money to her family members, friends, and a “supernatural specialist.”

According to news source heavy.com, the thieving HRA employee “will face up to 10 years in prison for the federal program theft count and up to 20 years for the wire fraud conspiracy count. She is scheduled to be sentenced in July.”

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Woman Loses Her Life In A Faulty NYC Homeless Shelter Elevator

Anna DeJesus

Earlier this month, Anna DeJesus, a resident of a New York City homeless shelter run by Project Renewal, died in the shelter’s elevator. Ms. DeJesus had reportedly been complaining about feeling ill before she went into cardiac arrest.

According to ABC7 News, EMT workers quickly arrived at the East 45th Street shelter to give Ms. DeJesus medical attention and transport her to the hospital. However, instead, the medical workers and Ms. DeJesus ended up trapped in the shelter’s freight elevator for approximately an hour; precious and critical time during which Ms. DeJesus passed away. (They were using the freight elevator because the shelter’s main elevator had been broken and out of service for several months. Apparently, the service elevator wasn’t in proper working condition either.)

Anna DeJesus’s relatives and fellow shelter residents feel that she would still be alive had she not been trapped in the elevator, and had been able to get to the hospital in a standard/appropriate amount of time.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) had a different perspective on the situation. They called the circumstances surrounding Ms. DeJesus’s death “a confluence of unfortunate events.” ABC7 News states that, “A DHS official says DeJesus was overdosing and did not respond to naloxone.” Residents at the East 45th Street women’s shelter refute this. [SIDEBAR: Having personally experienced homeless shelter administrators spin a false story to no end, I look at their version of events with wary skepticism. Also, even if she was overdosing from a narcotic, does that mitigate the fact that she died while being trapped in a faulty elevator?]

Further, The Department of Homeless Services has denied responsibility for the condition of the shelter’s defectively deadly elevators. Although DHS owns the property that houses the East 45th Street shelter, their official has reportedly stated that the shelter operator, Project Renewal, is responsible for the maintenance of the building’s elevator.

The shelter has a long history of defective elevators. ABC7 News revealed the following: “Department of Building records show a long list of complaints about the shelter’s passenger elevator dating back several years, including an open violation from last November for failure to fix the elevator.”

Despite billions of taxpayers dollars being poured into the NYC shelter system, so many shelters have potentially deadly conditions of squalor and danger. Why is this? It is inexcusable.

R.I.P Ms. Anna DeJesus. May your soul find peace and justice.

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Teen Overcomes Homelessness And Garners 18 College Acceptances

Dylan Chidick and Mom

Dylan Chidick, who is class president at his Jersey City, New Jersey high school, went through a bout of homelessness in 2017. He kept his housing struggles a secret from his classmates; however, his schooling was greatly affected.

In a recent Washington Post article, Dylan described his time at a New Jersey homeless shelter as “really scary.” The shelter’s dangerous environment and restrictive rules caused his grades to slip. According to the Washington Post, “The shelter disrupted his studies, with curfews butting with his habit of doing homework late into the night.” The scholar is also quoted as saying: “I was so focused on never getting back in that situation, that I was just — my studies took a hit… This senior year, I made a pact like: Get straight A’s again.”

After his family secured housing in 2017, Dylan was able to keep his pact. He has thus far been accepted to 18 colleges. Dylan Chidick’s goal is to become an attorney. After being left “shaken” by his experience with homelessness, he plans to dedicate his career to increasing the amount of justice in the world.

In regards to his bout with homelessness, the young king said, “I’m not going to let that one part define me.”

Congratulations! Keep shining young king!

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Actress Susan Kelechi Watson On Brooklyn’s Gentrification

Susan Watson

Actress Susan Kelechi Watson had the following to say about the gentrification of Brooklyn in a recent New York Post interview:

“I don’t understand why there wasn’t the same investment in the community or the same investment in the prosperity of the community when the culture was majority Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American, when it was a majority of black culture. It becomes more opportune to invest when other cultures decide they want to live there. Or other cultures must live there because they are forced out of- let’s say, Manhattan. At the core level, that’s my problem with gentrification.

What I say is that there’s this culture and this vibe and this community in Brooklyn that’s so amazing and wonderful and it has influence on the world. That’s the part of Brooklyn that I love and I begin to miss. All these people who made Brooklyn, Brooklyn. When you’re from Brooklyn, you are the show, aren’t you?”

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A Young Homeless New Yorker Becomes A Chess Champion

Tanitoluwa Adewumi

Young king, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, has mastered the game of kings. The 8-year old scholar, who has only been playing chess for one year, went undefeated in New York’s chess championship in the kindergarten through third grade division. He accomplished this feat while grappling with homelessness.

Tanitoluwa arrived in New York with his family in 2017 from Nigeria. The The family has not yet been able to secure stable housing.

Since winning the championship, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, who is planning to be the youngest chess Grandmaster ever, has garnered a lot of media attention and encouragement. Reportedly, a GoFundMe that is currently filled with more than $200,000 in donations, has been set up for Tanitoluwa and his family. It is also reported that Ex-President Bill Clinton is seeking to set up a meeting with the family.

All the best to this genius and his family.

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My Housing Nightmare After Homelessness: Part 1

Homeless With Dates Logo

One of the greatest exhales of my life was securing housing after going through homelessness. Unfortunately, however, my relief was short-lived. My expectations and celebration was too quickly shattered when I secured a great apartment in a great neighborhood, but soon found out that my living conditions in said apartment would leave me trapped in an environment that mirrored housing shelter conditions in a very detrimental way.

My new dwelling has been plagued with a sickening, potent drug aroma that rivals the one that was ever-present in the New York City homeless shelters; the same potent drug aroma that caused me to develop smoke-related asthma.

As a newly-created asthma sufferer, thanks to the NYC shelter system, I was especially ecstatic when I secured my new apartment because all through the interview process, it was stressed to me that a no smoking and drug use policy would be strictly enforced by the building’s management. The management company’s admonitions made me believe that I was moving into a “smoke-free environment.” However, instead, I had just signed a lease for an apartment with an environment that, like the NYC homeless shelters, caused: illness, missed days of work due to illness, and the use of an inordinate amount of days to try to get the apartment’s management company to enforce the terms of the lease that barred smoking and drug use on the premises.

It took me approximately a year and a half of phone calls, letter writing, and networking to even make a dent in solving this issue. The problem was so severe that my apartment was constantly inundated with a potent drug aroma like someone was sitting on my couch doing drugs.

I found myself spending the majority of my days documenting what I was experiencing and reaching out for solutions the same way I had to when I was living under the horrifying conditions of the NYC shelter system. I am still trying to make further inroads in dealing with this toxic conundrum. I still have more work to do to ensure that I am living in a healthy, decent environment.

The last few years of my life has been a living, breathing testament to what happens when the basic necessity of shelter is lacking, contaminated, or in limbo.

A lack of decent housing has a domino effect that touches every area of a person’s life, with unexpected nuances that have to be experienced to be fully understood.

My fight for decent housing did not end when my bout with homelessness ended. I am still engaged in that battle. It is an exhausting one. I have experienced battle fatigue, but I have gathered my second wind. I will continue to share my experiences; part catharsis, part helping hand, part empowerment.

Stay strong; New York Strong.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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Housing Voucher Requests Stopped In Midst Of Government Shutdown

US Capitol

Parts of the Federal Government will be closed due to an impasse between President Trump and Congress. According to The Washington Post, Congress is lingering in a “stalemate with President Trump over border wall funding.” The President is reportedly seeking approval of $5 billion for the funding.

The Government shutdown began on Saturday at midnight. It has yet to be determined how long the shut down will last.

During the shutdown, not only will approximately 400,000 federal employees go without pay, but some governmental administrative and social services will be halted or abbreviated.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will reportedly stop processing requests for housing vouchers until the shutdown ends.

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