Homeless New Yorker Stat: The Staten Island Edition

HMLS New Yorker

According to a recent article published in news source Staten Island Live, approximately 1,300 Staten Islanders are homeless and residing in New York City homeless shelters. However, Staten Island itself, has only one homeless shelter.

Staten Island Live states that according to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the single Staten Island shelter only has the capacity to house 40 homeless families and 119 homeless people.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Shady Shelter Business: NYC Audits Homeless Shelter Provider

HMLS New Yorker Blue Logo

In an exclusive New York Daily News report, it has been disclosed that New York City is auditing Childrens Community Services, a homeless shelter provider that was granted $407 million in contracts from the City in June of 2017.

According to the New York Daily News, Childrens Community Services was granted the lucrative contracts to operate hotel shelters in New York City despite being a neophyte company that was formed only four years prior. It seems that the “nonprofit” company is currently in quite a fiscal pickle. Recent tax filings reportedly state that the company is “$6 million in the red.”

The New York Daily News states: “When the Daily News inquired about the nonprofit’s debts and murky financials, Homeless Services said it planned to procure an independent accounting firm to review Children Community Services and pare down the number of shelters the nonprofit operates.”

These are the types of dealings the City is engaging in in the midst of a homeless crisis? Who are the people making these decisions? Are there professional repercussions, and accountability, for those people’s actions? How will the City claw itself out of the homeless epidemic with going-ons like this?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

New York City Awards A $369 Million Contract For Hotel Homeless Services

HMLS New Yorker

According to Crain’s New York, New York City has awarded a $369 million contract to an organization to provide social services and supplies to homeless families living in hotels. The three-year contract was given to Children’s Community Services Inc.

Some may view the awarding of this 9-figure contract with bewilderment since the same administration that vowed to end the use of hotels as a means to house the homeless, is now making such a contractual deal.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) claims that the city is currently in the “phase-out period of hotels.” Crain’s New York quotes DHS’s spokesperson as stating the following: “During the phase-out period of hotels, as mentioned in the mayor’s plan to turn the tide on the city-wide challenge of homelessness, we’ve brought providers under contract to better improve services and reduce costs. The contract covers far more than just a roof over one’s head, and includes necessary kitchen and living essentials, security and social services to help homeless New Yorkers get back on their feet and return to the community.” [SIDEBAR: I find the “return to the community” statement interesting. It’s telling that a statement that is usually used regarding inmates leaving incarceration is used in regards to homeless people.]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Signs Of A Troubled Agency: 3 DHS Deputy Commissioners In 3 Years

HMLS New Yorker

Last week, the Deputy Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) quit his job. He is the third deputy commissioner in three years to vacate the position.

According to the New York Daily News, the most recent DHS Deputy Commissioner had an annual salary of $180,000 According to New York City’s website, the area median income (AMI) for an individual living in New York City in 2017 was $66,800. To have several people abandon a position that pays more than 2 ½ times the geographic region’s AMI, in a city in which it can be challenging to draw such an income, says a lot about that position and the Department of Homeless Services.

[ALSO NOTE: Before the mayor’s approximately 15% raise due for 2018, the salary of the Deputy Commissioner of DHS was only $45,000 less than the salary of the NYC Mayor.]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

The Homeless New Yorker Red Tape Quote Of The Week: The Queens Family Hotel Edition

HMLS New Yorker Red Tape

“Every New Yorker should be outraged at the incompetence and even cruelty at the Department of Homeless Services. These families and children are ripped from their homes at a moment’s notice, traumatized again because DHS is failing in every way to address homelessness.” -Jimmy Van Brammer (NYC Councilmember) on the sloppy, forced transition of homeless families from a Queens hotel shelter. [Source: NY Daily News]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

2 Newborn Babies Dead At 2 Different NYC Shelters

Saratoga Family Inn

It’s only approximately three weeks into 2018, and there has already been at least two deaths of newborn babies in two different New York City homeless shelters.

In both cases, the New York City Daily News states that the cause of death of the babies has not yet been determined.

On the first Wednesday of 2018, a baby living in a Queens shelter, Saratoga Family Inn, died. This is not the first time a baby has perished as this shelter. In 2004, a three-month old baby died at the shelter after being found unconscious. In 2003, twin babies also died at the shelter via suffocation.

Yesterday, according to the New York Daily News, a baby born at the Callaway Family Residence, a shelter for pregnant women located in the Bronx, died after he was found not breathing.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

NYC Homeless Shelter Administrator Sexual Harasses Homeless Women

HMLS New Yorker

What happens when a homeless shelter administrator sexually harasses shelter residents? Check out the investigative report below on a Brooklyn homeless shelter where women have been allegedly sexually violated and abused by a “housing specialist.” This has been reportedly going on for YEARS at this particular shelter. Sadly, this is not surprising at all.

In the investigative report below, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) spokesperson is quoted as saying the following regarding the sexual abuse: “We have absolutely zero tolerance for this alleged behavior. We are in close collaboration with authorities, and we are seeking this individual’s termination.” His termination? How about his prosecution, and an investigation into a department that should have dealt with this very serious issue years ago? How about some sort of restitution, and services, for the victims? How about an intense clean-up, and scrubbing, of agencies that allow the city’s shelters to be run like corrupt prisons? SMH!!

[SIDEBAR: I wonder how long he has worked for DHS? Probably, quite some time; meaning years of violating and abusing vulnerable homeless women. Whenever you complain of the behavior of NYC homeless shelter staff/administrators, you are likely to be met with the rebuttal of how long the administrator/employee has worked for DHS. This is used as a protective shield by the person engaging in improprieties, and their higher-ups. As if their years of experience means that they are “in the right.” It only means that many NYC shelter administrators/employees are allowed to engage in all kinds of egregious activities with the backing of the agencies they work for. This makes it even more intimidating, and threatening, for homeless shelter residents to speak up. MR. MAYOR, and other public officials, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS? WHERE IS YOIR CALL TO ACTION?!]

Kudos to Jay Dow and his team for their continuously stellar work!!!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

It’s Been 6 Months Since I’ve Been Homeless…

HMLS New Yorker

Going through homelessness is a life-altering experience that I will never forget. It has been 6 months since I exited the New York City homeless shelter system; a system that leaves its residents traumatized and “institutionalized” after enduring filthy/unhealthy conditions, debilitating red-tape protocols, inmate-like treatment, and shelter administrators/staff who ate far from altruistic.

It’s taken all of the past 6 months to try to shake off the institutionalized behaviors you are forced to conform to when you’re a resident of the NYC shelter system. It is no easy feat to restore yourself to your normal eating habits, exercise habits, work habits, and other day-to-day normalities after you finally exit the homeless shelter system. After 6 months of trying, I am still not back to all the way normal yet. After all, I experienced and witnessed some pretty extreme things while in the shelter system; things that one does not easily shake off.

There are some irreplaceable things that you will never get back. Without getting into personal specifics, if you are a homeless shelter resident, and you have family out of town, you can not readily tend to family emergencies that are out of your geographic sphere. (Shelter protocols and unwanted intrusiveness makes this extremely difficult, to say the least.) There is time with loved ones that you will never get back. (Again, traumatic and life changing stuff.)

However, despite, and because of, all of the negatives I experienced as a resident in the NYC homeless shelter system, I am seeking to use my experience to help others who are in the not to be forgotten situation I have recently escaped from.

Since leaving the shelter system, I have petitioned the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to receive my files. I wanted to see exactly how these agencies saw fit to document my tenure in their system. Receipt of these files would also serve as a great learning tool into how the system operates, in addition to evidencing how accurately these agencies recorded my dealings and communications with them.

When I finally got my file from DHS, it was chock full of falsities and omissions. In regards to my HRA file, to this day, HRA has still not provided me with something other than a half-page document, which took months to receive.

I attempted to get my DHS and HRA files with the assistance of an attorney, and still, I had to wait an inordinate amount of time to receive the fragmentary files that I got. (The attorney stated that in their experience, this was the longest anyone had to wait to get their files.)

I will continue to speak out about my experiences in the NYC homeless shelter system in the hopes that there will be forthcoming, positive changes. I also want the people who are going through what I went through to know that they are not alone, nor are they imagining the unbelievably egregious things that they are experiencing in the system.

I want people who have, fortunately, not experienced the horrors of the NYC shelter system to know what really goes on. I want to debunk the stereotypes that are associated with homelessness.

I will continue to share my experiences. I will continue to research. I will continue to push for changes, and I hope others will too.

Despite all of the historical injustices that my ancestors have endured here, I have love for this city. I love my community, and the people who have bravely strived. I seek to honor them with my efforts.

-The Homeless New Yorker

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

What Agency Takes Longer To Give You Your File: DHS or HRA?

HMLS 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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

A HMLS New Yorker Describes What It’s Like To Live In A Shelter

I concur on what this woman says living in a New York City homeless shelter is like. I’ve experienced the degradation caused by shelter employees and administrators, the adverse effects to employment, the lumping of people together, the oppressive curfew system, the red tape run-around, the lack of tangible housing assistance, the train system being used as make-shift shelters overnight, and much more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr