Shelter Conditions That Dehumanize

HMLS Shelter Food

The following statement is an excerpt from Coalition for the Homeless’s “State of the Homeless 2019” Report. (This report is a survey, and analysis of the New York homeless shelter system. Also, the following passage is 100% accurate, sad to say. SMH!):

“In addition to the needed capital repairs, the failure to provide routine cleaning and maintenance of facilities is degrading to shelter residents and creates unhygienic conditions. Coalition monitors frequently observe filthy bathrooms, most often at night and on weekends. Shelter residents sometimes have no choice but to try to clean the bathrooms themselves despite lacking proper equipment and supplies. Problems with vermin, including insect infestations, also abound in many shelters.

Certain practices and conditions in many shelters further traumatize and dehumanize homeless individuals. These practices include requiring residents to request toilet paper whenever they need to use the restroom; providing poor-quality, unappetizing food and insufficient portions (while forbidding residents from bringing outside food into shelters); failing to offer frequent laundry services; providing inadequate case management and housing assistance; and erecting bureaucratic barriers that deter those seeking shelter.”

[NOTE: The above picture is from news source DNA Info. It is from a 2015 article entitled, “Jail Has Better Food Than Homeless Shelter Without Kitchens, Residents Say”]

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Homeless Shelter Coming To Billionaire’s Row?

Billionaire's Row

A homeless shelter is slated to be opened on Billionaire’s Row, a stretch of New York City that is purported to be some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

The area that is located at the southern end of New York City’s Central Park will reportedly soon be home to a 150-bed men’s homeless shelter. After multiple rounds of litigation, a Judge recently gave the green light to the shelter’s opening at the former Park Savoy Hotel, located on 58th Street, near 7th Avenue.

Residents of the area attempted to fight the opening of the shelter in court stating that the building was unsafe for residency, would increase crime in the area, and would cause economic harm to the value of neighboring properties.

In light of the most recent judicial ruling, opponents to the shelter vow to continue to pursue an appeal. Meanwhile, according to news source Breitbart, social services Commissioner Steven Banks has stated that, “We will begin servicing our neighbors in need at this location as soon as possible.”

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2 New Homeless Shelters To Come To Park Slope

2 New Park Slope Shelters

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?

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Woman Loses Her Life In A Faulty NYC Homeless Shelter Elevator

Anna DeJesus

Earlier this month, Anna DeJesus, a resident of a New York City homeless shelter run by Project Renewal, died in the shelter’s elevator. Ms. DeJesus had reportedly been complaining about feeling ill before she went into cardiac arrest.

According to ABC7 News, EMT workers quickly arrived at the East 45th Street shelter to give Ms. DeJesus medical attention and transport her to the hospital. However, instead, the medical workers and Ms. DeJesus ended up trapped in the shelter’s freight elevator for approximately an hour; precious and critical time during which Ms. DeJesus passed away. (They were using the freight elevator because the shelter’s main elevator had been broken and out of service for several months. Apparently, the service elevator wasn’t in proper working condition either.)

Anna DeJesus’s relatives and fellow shelter residents feel that she would still be alive had she not been trapped in the elevator, and had been able to get to the hospital in a standard/appropriate amount of time.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) had a different perspective on the situation. They called the circumstances surrounding Ms. DeJesus’s death “a confluence of unfortunate events.” ABC7 News states that, “A DHS official says DeJesus was overdosing and did not respond to naloxone.” Residents at the East 45th Street women’s shelter refute this. [SIDEBAR: Having personally experienced homeless shelter administrators spin a false story to no end, I look at their version of events with wary skepticism. Also, even if she was overdosing from a narcotic, does that mitigate the fact that she died while being trapped in a faulty elevator?]

Further, The Department of Homeless Services has denied responsibility for the condition of the shelter’s defectively deadly elevators. Although DHS owns the property that houses the East 45th Street shelter, their official has reportedly stated that the shelter operator, Project Renewal, is responsible for the maintenance of the building’s elevator.

The shelter has a long history of defective elevators. ABC7 News revealed the following: “Department of Building records show a long list of complaints about the shelter’s passenger elevator dating back several years, including an open violation from last November for failure to fix the elevator.”

Despite billions of taxpayers dollars being poured into the NYC shelter system, so many shelters have potentially deadly conditions of squalor and danger. Why is this? It is inexcusable.

R.I.P Ms. Anna DeJesus. May your soul find peace and justice.

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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.

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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.]

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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.]

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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]

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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.

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