“Between 1981 and 2011, the number of rent-controlled apartments in New York plummeted from more than 285,000 to fewer than 39,000.” -The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy”
Being trapped in a system riddled with ever-changing protocols, no transparency, mind-boggling incompetence, lack of expertise to solve the stated problem, scattered/inconsistent “professional” advice, and a myriad of other unfortunate euphemisms, is akin to being caught in quicksand.
So many people give up and resign their fate to a callous system because they recognize that the more they fight, the more they get stuck. Speak up about the gross negligence you experience; you’ll constantly be scheduled for case conferences that administrators never show up to, while your family loses income and jeopardizes their jobs to show up to meetings that never happen all under the duress that you’ll be kicked out of your shelter if you don’t attend. Gain momentum in connecting with the community that your shelter is located in; you’ll be transferred from your shelter without your consent, without fair warning or reason, and with inconsistent moving dates that cause more loss of income. Reach out to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to look for solutions for what you’re experiencing, and for tangible housing help so you can get out of the system; you’ll be virtually ignored, or be given insultingly ineffective rhetoric while you spend precious time and money to send faxes and certified letters looking for reasonable answers that are never given. Reach out to DHS’s Ombudsman Unit; you’ll still receive the same insultingly ineffective rhetoric with a snappy retort that let’s you know they see you and your serious issues as an annoyance, not as a duty to fulfill their mission statement. All of the above and more has happened to me and my family.
I have reasonably went through all of the “proper” channels that supposedly exist internally in the homeless shelter system. When that was to no avail, I began to reach out to entities outside of the system to seek some type of relief or recompense. Like I stated above, once I started to gain momentum, I was shipped out of my shelter like a chattel slave or prisoner. (CLICK HERE for details on that.)
I have diligently, independently looked for affordable housing for years. Unfortunately, as a lot of New Yorkers have lamented, the city is not kind to working-class citizens. The “professionals” within the homeless system have offered me no tangible help. I have, thus far, via the advisement of homeless administrators, only been matched with realtors who have either never returned my calls, or haven’t dealt in real estate in months, have disconnected numbers, or have been out-and-out scammers. (I’ll elaborate on these experiences in the near future.)
I am now at the point where what I have been experiencing has lead me to research laws, legal precedents, and a bevy of other things that relate to my current housing situation. Also, towards the end of last year, I began to once again attend community council meetings; a practice I participated in for years until my schedule disallowed it.
Based on my experience thus far, I believe that in order to solve the problem of my homelessness, I must delve deeper into the raison d’être for its existence. I must also get familiar with the policies that relate to homelessness. This is tough to do when there is a lack of transparency, and so much confusion, in the housing system. However, I will continue to push forward.
It is shameful that a person has to navigate such waters via such a circuitous route in order to get a basic life necessity, but I will continue to do so to the best of my ability. You have to have the skills of a CEO and the sleep patterns of an elephant to navigate this system. SMH!
Stay tuned. I will share what I am learning.
-The HMLS New Yorker
A report recently released by the city’s comptroller, Scott Stringer, states that thousands of homeless people are currently being sheltered in hotel rooms.
According to NY1, “The Comptroller says the Department of Homeless Services is using hotel rooms to shelter nearly 6,000 homeless people, compared with just over 300 last year.” The Comptroller reportedly estimates a daily cost for the hotel lodgings at $400,000. Some of the hotel bookings are said to cost several hundred dollars for a single night.
The aforementioned tabulations makes one wonder why cheaper alternatives haven’t been implemented or explored. While it’s a positive that the City is aspiring to shelter the homeless, why isn’t the City taking this money and using it to build more public housing? With the high amounts of money being spent to purportedly eradicate a homeless problem that keep exponentially increasing, what is being done to intelligently earmark funds into programs that actually work? Why is this situation so grossly mismanaged? How much of this problem stems from the City’s current administration, and how much is inherited? Is someone’s “hands in the cookie jar”?
As someone who has personally spent an inordinate amount of time trying to navigate their way through the suffocating red tape of the shelter system to affordable housing, I can tell you firsthand that the housing “help” offered by the shelter system is less than zero; meaning, their version of “help” will have you spinning your wheels and wasting valuable time and money.
I don’t understand how billions of dollars can be spent on an issue to no avail. Where are the experts who can help to better this system? Why is more money being spent while the system is getting worse? Who is the brain trust regarding this issue?
A LOT of New York City landlords are requiring that potential renters have an annual income that is 40 times the monthly rent. This is a grossly unreasonable request.
According to this standard, for an apartment that rents for $1,500, the required annual income is $60,000. For an apartment that rents for $2,000 a month, the required annual income is $80,000. Meanwhile, according to New York City census data, the annual median income for Brooklyn residents is $44,850. The annual median income for Queens residents is $54,373. How can New Yorkers possibly afford to live in this city? How can the average New Yorker possibly meet this kind of standard?
The rental requirements are exorbitant and ridiculous. I hope this trend of too-high rents, and extra-picky rental requirements stops soon. Soon, there won’t be anymore “working people” able to afford to work and live in the city. What will happen then?
-The Homeless New Yorker