The Side Effects Of Homelessness: Being Institutionalized Out Of Drinking Water

HMLS New Yorker

I went to sleep, and woke up, thinking about what I can do to promote my family’s health. A You Tube video I watched reminded me of the importance of drinking water. It’s sadly ironic how quickly being institutionalized can curtail your habits, and how long it can take to reinstate them.

In the last shelter I was in, several months ago, bottled water was abruptly banned. (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE for posts regarding that.) Of course, the water ban negatively affected my family’s water intake. It also changed my water-drinking habits for months to come. I purchase water, but my intake level is nowhere close to being what it was pre-homelessness and pre-water ban. I had to examine myself, and ask myself why.

Being in a system where your environment is abnormally controlled on a large scale by someone else, unfortunately, also means that your habits are controlled and damaged by that system as well. Being subjected to certain rules for a prolonged period consciously and subconsciously affects your momentum, and the things you are naturally inclined to do.

The You Tube video I watched reminded me of the importance of drinking water. Today is the day I start to re-implement consistent water drinking into my daily regimen.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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NYC’s Smoke-Free Air Act

HMLS New Yorker

Due to the known dangers of second-hand smoke, New York City has enacted laws to combat it. New York City’s Smoke-Free Air Act provides remedies for people who are exposed to second-hand smoke in their living quarters.

According to New York Tenants’ Guide To Smoke-Free Housing, in the event of exposure to second-hand smoke: “Possible legal claims include claims for negligence, trespass, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, nuisance, and violation of the warranty of habitability. If the exposure to secondhand smoke forced you to move out of your apartment, you may also have a claim for constructive eviction.”

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The Homeless New Yorker Red Tape Quote Of The Week: The Smoke/Drug Smoke Free-For-All Edition

HMLS New Yorker Red Tape

“There’s nothing we can do. We tell them to stop smoking, and as soon as we walk away, they light up again.” -A Security Supervisor To A Subordinate

Meanwhile, this same security supervisor was joking about writing people up yesterday. SMH.

There is a persistent smell of drugs in the shelter I reside in, so much so, it is making me sick. The shelter I reside in sees fit to stop people from coming into the facility with bottled water and any type of food (an update on that later), yet all kinds of drugs are being smoked in the facility and the security supervisor shrugs it off.

All the inspections in the world haven’t stopped the rampant drug use. There’s no one to complain to when the above quote is the pervasive attitude by the staff towards smoking in the facility. Yet, I can’t have bottled water, or any kind of food items in the facility. I feel like I reside in a drug den. The non-stop smell of drugs constantly seeps into my room. It often feels like the drug smell is coming through the vents as well. I NEED PROPER HOUSING NOW!!

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The Health Dangers Of Micro-Apartments And Living In Cramped Spaces

What Is A Micro UnitDefying laws set in the 1980s, New York City is now creating more micro apartments. These tiny living spaces are being marketed to tenants who are increasingly having great difficulties navigating New York City’s absurdly expensive housing market. Researchers are warning of the health dangers of residing in these cramped living spaces.

According to the Observer, the director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College has stated that living in micro-apartments can be very unhealthy and can exacerbate stress factors for people who live in them. He sites the increase of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and claustrophobia that occurs when people live in extremely close quarters.

Researchers also point out the damage that is likely to be caused to children who live in cramped spaces. The director of Housing Environments Research Group is quoted in the Observer by saying that children who live in crowded apartments can become “withdrawn and have trouble studying and concentrating.”

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No Tables, No Chairs, But Flat Screen TVs Allowed

Chair Table Flat ScreenI reside in a shelter that forbids you to have a table or a chair in your room. However, you are allowed to have a flat screen television. How is one to process that stipulation?

Such a mandate encourages a lifestyle where there is assimilation to lying around and watching television. There is no way for you to comfortably sit up in a room designed in such a manner. The bed is barely a couple of inches off of the floor. Therefore, sitting in a posture that isn’t damaging to your body is out of the question.

If your life necessitates that you read, write, use a lap top, etc., it is not an option that you will be able to do so in a comfortable, or even healthy, way in a shelter that doesn’t allow residents to have a table or chair.

The no table/no chair rule doesn’t foster an atmosphere of productivity. As a matter of fact, it makes me feel like I’m being institutionalized in manner that is similar to imprisonment. Again, what message does that send to a person who is residing in a homeless shelter?

-The Homeless New Yorker

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