There are numerous similarities between New York City’s homeless shelter system, the prison system, and chattel slavery. A recent situation that confirms this premise is the abrupt relocation of women shelter residents from a Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn facility.
More than 100 homeless women were notified that they would be removed from the Bowery Residents’ Committee operated Lexington Avenue shelter and relocated to various shelters throughout the city to make room for homeless men with mental health challenges. According to Brooklyn Paper, the women were notified of the mandated move only 48 hours before it began to take place.
This type of unsettling transfer seems to be protocol for New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS). It is not an anomaly for DHS to uproot homeless residents from their shelters at less than a moment’s notice; and yes, they will do this at any given time of the year, even during the holiday season.
Brooklyn Paper states that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo have spoken out against the transfers and have tried to get Mayor de Blasio’s administration and DHS Commisioner Stephen Banks to halt the unsettling move. However, thus far, it has been to no avail. Councilwoman Cumbo is quoted as saying: “I have had a heated conversation with Commissioner Banks about this. When the heat didn’t go the way that I wanted it to go- I begged.”
I wonder how the commissioner of DHS and the mayor’s administration rationalize such a callous upheaval; that is, if they rationalize it at all.
-The Homeless New Yorker