Is 311 Ignoring The Pleas Of The Homeless?

NYC 311
According to an August 21, 2016 New York Daily News article, this year, the calls made to New York City’s complaint line, 311, regarding grievances from New York City’s homeless shelter residents has had an approximately 50% increase from the same time last year. The article states that 10,500 such calls have already been made to 311 thus far in 2016. The voluminous amount of complaints seems to be a challenge for the hotline to manage.

Interviews by the Daily News with New York City homeless shelter residents garnered the feedback that shelter residents’ 311 grievances are going unheard and unresolved. A shelter resident stated that a bevy of women who reside in the same shelter with her have called 311 seeking help and relief from unsavory shelter conditions, but it has been to no avail. The source states that the residents of her shelter are treated like dogs and inmates.

The question remains: What is the best way for New York City’s homeless shelter residents to get their grievance heard AND resolved?

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How I Found Out Violent Sex Offenders Reside In The Same Shelter As I Do

HMLS New YorkerWhen you reside in a shelter, you are mandated to attend regularly scheduled meetings called Independent Living Plan (ILP) meetings. These meetings are conducted by your assigned case worker.

The tone and context of these meetings are akin to what I would imagine parole meetings are like. They mostly have a disciplinary type of function. During an ILP, you sign your room check form for the random room checks that are performed weekly; you sign a document that says you will continue to follow the rules, take off your belt before you come through the metal detector, keep any meetings the shelter decides to schedule for you at their whim, etc.

The ILP meetings don’t provide any tangible help for you to get housing. Although your case worker is also supposed to be your “housing specialist,” they don’t provide you with any valuable help to assist you in securing housing. (I’ll elaborate on that in a future blog post.) I say this to say, it was during an ILP meeting that I, by chance, discovered that violent sex offenders reside in the same shelter I do.

During one of my ILP meetings, my case worker carelessly left an array of documents containing people’s personal information out on her desk. Among these documents carelessly left askew for any and all to see, were sex offender papers.

No, shelter residents are not alerted to the fact that they are living in close-quarters with violent perpetrators of sex crimes. I found this out because my case worker did not honor the confidentiality protocols that require that personal documents are not left out in the open.

Upon further investigation, I recently found out that there are several violent sex offenders residing in the shelter I currently reside in. This should not be allowed. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly. This week, I discovered a few exposès that exposed other NYC homeless shelters that have violent sex offenders living amongst women and children unbeknownst to them.

CLICK HERE and HERE for those investigative reports.

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The Homeless New Yorker Red Tape Quote Of The Week: The Incarceration-Like Interrogation Edition

HMLS New Yorker Red Tape

“These are the same questions you get asked when you get arrested.” -My Case Worker

The aforementioned quote is what my case worker said to me when I asked her the relevance of the questions she was asking me. (Note, she was asking me how many siblings I had and if I was raised in the same household with them.)

Also Note, I have NEVER been arrested. What would give a case worker cause to say something like this in response to a question of relevance, especially to someone who has absolutely no criminal history. I guess these shelter employees think being homeless is a crime.

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