The City has invested in a widespread marketing campaign, not imploring people not to use drugs, period; but to advertise that people should do drugs “safely.”
Last week, I got on a train that was wallpapered with advertisements in English and Spanish, bearing the NYC logo, that told people: “Every 6 hours a New Yorker dies from an overdose. Carry naloxone. Save a life.” “Avoid Mixing drugs.” “Avoid using alone. If you do, have someone check on you.” “Using cocaine tonight?…Safety Tips: Use with others. Carry naloxone/narcan.”
These ads clearly don’t scream a no tolerance drug-use message, or even a don’t do drugs directive. The ads seem more like an advertisement for naloxone, and permissive illegal drug use.
Can you imagine being a young child reading these befuddling messages on your daily commute? I, like many other NYC born and raised children, enhanced my reading skills daily by reading aloud posted advertisements to my parents during commutes. Can you imagine what kind of messages these ads are implanting in young minds and psyches? SMH!
According to NYC’s website the marketing campaign has a $730,000 price tag. The website also states: “The campaign will run citywide on subways, bus shelters, billboards, LinkNYC kiosks, online in local businesses and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.”
Tomorrow a meeting will be held at John Jay High School to address two new homeless shelters that are proposed to be opened in Park Slope before the end of 2019.
The meeting, which will be held at 237 7th Avenue, between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM, will reportedly be attended by elected officials, representatives of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and representatives of Women In Need (WIN).
The two shelters will be operated by WIN. According to The Bklyner, one shelter, proposed to be opened in September, will be a 148-unit shelter located at 535 4th Avenue. The other shelter, located at 555 4th Avenue, is proposed to be opened in November 2019. It will house 105 shelter units.
NYC is still seemingly attempting to solve its serious housing crisis by building new homeless shelters rather than turning available properties into affordable housing? I’m still unclear exactly what the city’s plan is here. What city official can accurately articulate the city’s affordable housing plan?
Actress Susan Kelechi Watson had the following to say about the gentrification of Brooklyn in a recent New York Post interview:
“I don’t understand why there wasn’t the same investment in the community or the same investment in the prosperity of the community when the culture was majority Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American, when it was a majority of black culture. It becomes more opportune to invest when other cultures decide they want to live there. Or other cultures must live there because they are forced out of- let’s say, Manhattan. At the core level, that’s my problem with gentrification.
What I say is that there’s this culture and this vibe and this community in Brooklyn that’s so amazing and wonderful and it has influence on the world. That’s the part of Brooklyn that I love and I begin to miss. All these people who made Brooklyn, Brooklyn. When you’re from Brooklyn, you are the show, aren’t you?”
One of the greatest exhales of my life was securing housing after going through homelessness. Unfortunately, however, my relief was short-lived. My expectations and celebration was too quickly shattered when I secured a great apartment in a great neighborhood, but soon found out that my living conditions in said apartment would leave me trapped in an environment that mirrored housing shelter conditions in a very detrimental way.
My new dwelling has been plagued with a sickening, potent drug aroma that rivals the one that was ever-present in the New York City homeless shelters; the same potent drug aroma that caused me to develop smoke-related asthma.
As a newly-created asthma sufferer, thanks to the NYC shelter system, I was especially ecstatic when I secured my new apartment because all through the interview process, it was stressed to me that a no smoking and drug use policy would be strictly enforced by the building’s management. The management company’s admonitions made me believe that I was moving into a “smoke-free environment.” However, instead, I had just signed a lease for an apartment with an environment that, like the NYC homeless shelters, caused: illness, missed days of work due to illness, and the use of an inordinate amount of days to try to get the apartment’s management company to enforce the terms of the lease that barred smoking and drug use on the premises.
It took me approximately a year and a half of phone calls, letter writing, and networking to even make a dent in solving this issue. The problem was so severe that my apartment was constantly inundated with a potent drug aroma like someone was sitting on my couch doing drugs.
I found myself spending the majority of my days documenting what I was experiencing and reaching out for solutions the same way I had to when I was living under the horrifying conditions of the NYC shelter system. I am still trying to make further inroads in dealing with this toxic conundrum. I still have more work to do to ensure that I am living in a healthy, decent environment.
The last few years of my life has been a living, breathing testament to what happens when the basic necessity of shelter is lacking, contaminated, or in limbo.
A lack of decent housing has a domino effect that touches every area of a person’s life, with unexpected nuances that have to be experienced to be fully understood.
My fight for decent housing did not end when my bout with homelessness ended. I am still engaged in that battle. It is an exhausting one. I have experienced battle fatigue, but I have gathered my second wind. I will continue to share my experiences; part catharsis, part helping hand, part empowerment.
Stay strong; New York Strong.
-The Homeless New Yorker
News sources are stating that nearly 50 Brooklynites have overdosed on K2 over the past few days.
The overdoses reportedly happened in five different locations. NBC News lists the overdoses as having occurred at the following locations: “The area of Broadway and Myrtle saw 15 overdoses; Fulton Street and Alabama Avenue in East New York had 21; Ralph Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, 7; Van Sinderen Avenue in Brownsville, 2; and Atlantic Avenue and Sackman Street, 4.”
The New York Daily News states that yesterday’s “rash of overdose victims came from the Renaissance Shelter at Ralph Ave. and Lincoln Place, witnesses said.” The New York Daily News also states that four people overdosed outside the Atlantic House Men’s Shelter in Brownsville.
**UPDATE: About 10 minutes ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that “K2 Overdose Tally Grows to 56 in Brooklyn.”
**SECOND UPDATE: The New York Times just reported: “The warnings on Tuesday [today] carried particular urgency for the city’s homeless population: Three shelters were among the five places identified as epicenters. The largest number of patients, 21, came from the Fulton House shelter in East New York.”