Being that Mayor De Blasio is the incumbent mayoral candidate in a political race where he, arguably, does not have any viable opponents, I am deeply interested in what he has to say regarding the state of homelessness in New York City. It is likely that his vision and actions will loom largely over this issue over the next four years.
The mayor recently stated the following regarding homelessness to the New York Daily News: “Obviously, I am not happy with where we stand on homelessness…We did that wrong and I take full responsibility for taking so long to put together a holistic plan. That’s on me and my team. To end homelessness in New York City, I don’t know how and when that happens…On homelessness, I think we’re talking about a long war and people should be honest about that.”
The aforementioned quote is troubling to me because it expresses a lack of confidence and know-how in dealing with the homeless crisis that has exploded in New York City. I also find this quote troubling because the homeless crisis is referred to as a “long war.” The last societal issue that was framed as a war, the “war on drugs,” was a losing proposition and continues to be so decades later. I hope this will not be true of the homeless crisis too.
Homeless New Yorker
According to a recent interview on DNA Info, a study that was done by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students, has found that: “One out of every 10 New York City students were identified as homeless [during] the last school year.”
I am not certain if this figure is exclusive to only the public school system in NYC, or the NYC school system in its entirety. However, with, reportedly, approximately 1.1 million children in the NYC public school system, the aforementioned statistic means that at least 110,000 children in New York City have been homeless during the last school year.
With numbers this high, why isn’t homelessness the premier issue during this upcoming New York City election?
HMLS New Yorker
Yesterday, thousands of New Yorkers rallied in front of New York’s City Hall in a show of solidarity for affordable housing.
Reportedly, the rally was organized by the Metro Industrial Area Foundation, and was mostly attended by congregants from New York City churches.
According to the New York Daily News, the foundation organized the rally in an attempt to persuade the mayor to back their plan for affordable housing, which “includes building 15,000 apartments for seniors on vacant NYCHA land.
The New York Daily News also states that Mayor De Blasio was invited to attend the rally by the foundation. However, he was instead marching in the Columbus Day parade.
The rally’s high turn-out, in spite heavy downpours, is indicative of the desperation and exasperation many New Yorkers feel concerning affordable housing.
When you are a resident of a homeless shelter, for all intents and purposes, you are akin to a “ward of the state.” You are treated as such by being subjected to stringent, unreasonable rules, which are confusingly mixed with ridiculously degrading living conditions. You would think that unreasonably stringent rules would at least be accompanied by efficiency; not in the New York City shelter system.
When you point out the inefficiencies, and the grossly negligent and harmful conditions that exist in the shelter to administrators, they will often respond with the retort of, “You live in a homeless shelter”; or, “You’re homeless.” The reasoning behind these statements is to imply that you should resign yourself to accept the unacceptable because you are homeless. Smh! NEVER ACCEPT WHAT IS UNACCEPTABLE! To do so is to lose a sense of humanity and to suppress your God-given rights. It also is the beginning of starting a downward spiral. Don’t allow anyone to implant destructive ideas into your thoughts.
“We are the victims of our habits, no matter who we are or what may be our life-calling. Any idea that is deliberately fixed in the mind, or any idea that is permitted to set itself up in the mind, as the result of suggestion, environment, the influence of associates, etc. is sure to cause us to indulge in acts which conform to the nature of the idea.” -Napoleon Hill
With homelessness in New York City being worse than what it was during the Great Depression, you would think that it would be a major issue in the upcoming New York elections. This can also be said in elections that affect the whole country, as homelessness is increasing in many States in America.
Is homelessness not a major issue addressed in elections because:
• Politicians don’t think homeless people, or people who care about homeless issues, vote?
• Homelessness is not “where the money is,” unless the homeless are being exploited by the system and not helped by it?
• Politicians feel that homeless people are the “underbelly of society”; therefore, their issues don’t need to be addressed?
• Politicians have the option, and the power, to tune out the voices of people who are crying out for help?
• Politicians avoid making homelessness a “hot topic,” because it might awaken too many people to realize that they are paycheck away, and this could cause a political uprising?
• Politicians don’t want to fix the homelessness problem?
• Politicians are disconnected, and/or don’t care?
• Politicians think if they ignore the problem, it will magically go away, or people won’t notice the problem exists?
• They don’t feel like their election is contingent on this issue, and they don’t care about the people they are supposed to represent enough to address it?
Whatever the reason is for the neglecting of this issue, I am predicting that this issue is not going to be ignored much longer. This won’t be because of the goodness-of -heart of the majority of our elected officials, obviously. This will be because, across the country, particularly in gentrified areas, and particularly in New York City, the homeless numbers are swelling; and by virtue of the laws of physics, you can only sweep so much under a rug before an explosion happens and dirt is all over the room. With the epic numbers of homelessness in the city, and with the treachery people are faced with when they enter the homeless system, the issue demands to be addressed and solved.
-The Homeless New Yorker
You must always follow the paper trail. In order to do so, you must have the paperwork.
I requested my file from both, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), via an attorney. It has taken an inordinate amount of time to receive both. I finally got my DHS file after waiting several weeks, and I am currently waiting to receive my HRA file after a wait of several weeks. I have been told that it is unusual for it to take this long to receive these files.
I wonder why it is taking so long for me to get my files. When I finally received my DHS file, it was expunged of almost all of the letters that I wrote DHS. (Yes, they received my letters. I mailed them in a manner that confirms receipt.) In addition to this, my DHS file was full of lies and fabrications. I’m patiently waiting to see what will be in my HRA file.
Be sure to request a copy of your files if you are engaged in any dealings with these agencies. No matter how long it takes for you to receive your paperwork, it is of the upmost importance that you have documentation of how these agencies document things.
-The Homeless New Yorker