All New York City homeless shelter residents should keep a THOROUGH journal/accounting of EVERYTHING that goes on during their residency in a shelter. This includes times, dates, names, descriptions of events, any communications with administrators, sign-in and sign-out times, housing-search efforts, and ANYTHING else that is relevant to your shelter situation. Be sure to make back-ups in a variety of formats, and store them for safe-keeping. If you follow this advice, you will thank me later!
Secondly, homeless shelter residents should subpoena a copy of their Department of Homeless Services (DHS) files from DHS. Carefully review your files and compare them to your accurate accounting and chronicling of events. You MUST know what is being written in your file, and what may be purposely omitted from your DHS file. This is extremely important because in most cases, as a homeless shelter resident, shelter and DHS administrators treat you in accordance with what is written in your file.
I have come into contact with shelter administrators who regard what is written in residents’ DHS files as gospel. Due to the gravity that is associated with these files, residents MUST be equipped with the knowledge of what they contain.
Homeless New Yorker
In Crown Heights’ continuing battle to stop the influx of homeless shelters inundating their neighborhood, a group of residents have successfully received a temporary restraining order against the full opening of a shelter on 267 Rogers Avenue. The courageous opponents of the shelter’s opening are demanding that the new building be completely designated for affordable housing.
The 267 Rogers Avenue shelter reportedly has the capacity to house 132 families. The shelter allegedly moved 10 families into the facility before a judge ordered that there be no further move-ins until future rulings are made.
A Crown Heights block association president, and plaintiff in the case against the 267 Rogers Avenue shelter, is quoted in an article on DNA Info as stating, in reference to the homeless families: “We’re not looking to kick them out. We want them there permanently.”
The opponents to the shelter are not just asking that the City abandon its plan to open the shelter. They are farsightedly seeking permanent affordable housing for their community.
According to an April 5, 2017 DNA Info article, the 267 Rogers Avenue shelter, “will share space with affordable housing tenants who will use 20 percent of the new building’s apartments.” I find this baffling!! I’ve never heard of the City implementing such a plan. Who would pay rent to live in a homeless shelter?
The plaintiffs in the aforementioned lawsuit are hoping that the judge rules in their favor and mandates that the facility be used 100% for low-income/affordable housing.
The next hearing date regarding the shelter is on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 2 PM. Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams Street, Room 461.
Thankfully, the temperature has dropped today. However, for three days this week, the temperatures soared into the high 80s and low 90s. My shelter room was sweltering.
During the Summer of 2016, I was in a shelter that had central air. Although the rooms were kept relatively cool on the days the central air was working and turned on, there was a downside to having central air in that particular shelter; the cornucopia of drug fumes that came through the vents were astounding. Shelter administrators said there was nothing they could do about the noxious drug fumes coming through the vents because it was likely coming from several different rooms, and blowing through the ventilation system.
The shelter that I am currently in has no cooling system, although the drug aroma is ubiquitously present. During the hot weather, the room got unbearably hot and stuffy. It was too uncomfortable to sleep. I wonder what The Department of Homeless Services prescribes in this situation. Are residents allowed to purchase air conditioners? If so, is that feasible given the transient nature of being a homeless shelter resident? What about residents who can’t afford such accoutrements, if they are allowed? What do they do to escape the unbearable heat and stuffiness? How does one live under such suffocating conditions during the summer months, or even during a heat wave?
I hope the weather remains cool for as long as possible.
-The HMLS New Yorker