New York City had yet to implement a viable solution to its record breaking homelessness problem. It seems as if the city has been vacillating between sitting on their hands to throwing things against the wall and watching nothing stick.
The city’s most recent attempt to cull the homeless presence in the subway system is a collaboration with the police department that is headquartered in a new “Joint Crisis Coordination Center,” located in downtown Brooklyn.
Via the Coordination Center, NYPD officers watch feeds of dozens of surveillance cameras aimed at various subway stations and platforms. This monitoring program allows the police department to spy on homeless people who are occupying spaces in targeted subway stations. When a homeless person is identified, they are reportedly offered social services and/or are issued a summons and removed from the station.
According news source, The City: “NYPD officials declined to identify the stations currently monitored, saying they’re picked based on a history of ‘quality of life’ issues. The stations watched can change, and cameras will be added in areas where needed, officials said.”
Opponents of this big-brother type of surveillance are opining that this approach is encroaching on the civil liberties of the homeless, and is “more stick than carrot.” The city has yet to come up with an effective plan to deal with the expanding affordable housing crisis.
A year ago, yesterday, I exited the New York City homeless shelter system. Being in the homeless shelter system was a life-changing experience for me. The New York City homeless shelter system seems to have a lot of similarities with the prison system. People who are in the homeless shelter system for a bevy of reasons, including upstanding citizens who have fell victim to New York City’s vicious cycle of gentrification, are treated like inmates; basically, dehumanized and “institutionalized.”
It’s a process to mentally, emotionally, and physically shake off the despicable trauma of the NYC homeless shelter system. When I read Wu Tang Klan’s U-God’s memoir, a passage in the tome regarding adjusting to life after incarceration reminded me of adjusting to life after being homeless.
In his book, “Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang,” U-God states: “You need about the same amount of time back in the world as you served in jail. If you did three years inside, you’re gonna need three years outside to get your head on straight. You have to catch up with the world that’s kept moving on while you’ve been separated from it. You aren’t just gonna walk out the gate and pick up your life right where you left off. You gotta readjust yourself, reestablish your routines, and above all, get used to the freedom of not being locked up, because that’s one of the biggest things every convict has to overcome.”
Despite the traumatic and extremely negative experiences I had in the NYC homeless shelter system, I appreciate what I learned and experienced there. My experiences in that system armed me with a effective and potent tool for helping others. I will never forget what I experienced, and I will not stop speaking out about it until things are changed, and greater numbers of people are helped.
To commemorate my anniversary, I have set some new personal goals. Me and my husband will also go to a shelter this weekend and give back, directly, to the people.
Lots of Love,
-The Homeless New Yorker
CLICK HERE for an overview, and first blog post, regarding my family’s pending “administrative transfer.” Please read this post first for a more comprehensive understanding of this situation.
Although my family was supposed to be forcibly moved from our shelter, without our consent, on November 18th; we have yet to be moved from our current shelter. However, the move is still pending.
Since the last time I addressed this issue on this blog, I have met with the director of my shelter regarding our forced, unexplained pending move. During the meeting, she did not give me any definitive answers as to where my family would be moved to or why. The only vague, raison d’etre she gave me for the sudden, unexpected pending move was that I had expressed “concerns” and “wrote letters.” She tried to guard her speech by constantly answering my queries with refrains of: “I don’t know,” and “I wouldn’t say that,” and “That’s the system.” However, she did make some puzzling statements when she wasn’t dodging basic questions that she should have provided answers to. (I’ll discuss that more in a later post.)
On Monday, November 28, 2016, my know-no-details case worker and a security guard came to my door with another Notice of Administrative Transfer that they wanted me to sign. The notice said that my family would be moved the next day. Specifically, it stated that: “As of 11/29/16” my family would not “be permitted to remain in [our] current shelter…Instead, you will be required to report to your new shelter placement once it’s identified.” How can you purport to move someone in 24 hours in one sentence, and in the very next sentence make a statement that conveys that the location of the move has not been identified? Who would sign a document that says that you would allow someone to move you someplace they haven’t even identified to you, or their precise reason for doing so? Who would sign a document that would give consent to being moved to a place of undetermined conditions? (Note: Several shelter administrators, including my shelter’s director has told me that they can move my family without our consent, even though there is no wrongdoing on our part; and without giving us pertinent details beforehand…”That’s the system.”)
The red tape keeps thickening.
To be continued…