NYC Governor Cuomo’s End Of The Year Remarks About Homelessness

Governor Cuomo

On the last day of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying the following in regards to homelessness in New York City: “We have severe challenges next year. There is nothing we cannot do if we focus on it. It is our apathy that stops us from solving these problems. There is no reason you have homeless people on the street in 2018. There’s no reason, but you choose to do nothing about it.”

According to the New York Post, Governor Cuomo was directing his comments towards Mayor De Blasio. For quite some time it has seemed to appear that NYC’s mayor and governor have not seen eye-to-eye on more than a few issues (to put it mildly). However, in the meantime, the citizens of the city are suffering from the dearth of affordable housing, and the soaring rate of homelessness. According to the news source, The Patch, Federal tallies have the number of New York City’s homeless currently at about 76,000 people.

The questions remain: Who is going to fix the problem? How? When?

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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!!!

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The Statement New Yorkers Should Hold The Mayor To: The Affordable Housing Edition

NYC Mayor Housing

In a recent New York Daily News editorial, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio stated the following:

“Wherever I go, I meet folks who are doing everything right- working hard, making a decent salary and trying to build a better life. In the New York I moved to 40 years ago, that was enough to feel economically secure.

The city had a lot of problems back then, but finding an affordable place to live wasn’t one of them.

It would have been hard to imagine a city where more than half of our people spend more on rent than they can afford, where entire neighborhoods slip out of reach of working families, where even people we once considered solidly middle class ask themselves: Can we still afford to live here?

Well, let me be clear: It’s New York that can’t afford to lose people like you.

This has to be a place where seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class can all afford to live. Otherwise, it’s not New York anymore.” -NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio

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NYCHA Erroneously Sends Almost 1,500 Eviction Notices

NYCHA

According to a New York Daily News article, the New York City Housing Authority erroneously sent 1,424 residents a letter threatening “termination of tenancy.” NYCHA officials have reportedly chalked-up the letters mistakenly sent to residents as being a “computer glitch.”

The letters, understandably, sent terror through residents who feared their housing was in jeopardy. One NYCHA tenant is quoted by the NY Daily News as saying: “The wording of the letter is so threatening. They should not do this. They don’t know how this emotionally kills a person. I did not sleep at all…My blood sugar was very high in the morning.”

To add insult to injury, the residents received the letter close to Election Day, and were unable to communicate with NYCHA’s management offices due to the offices being closed for the holiday.

Hopefully NYCHA is taking steps to right their wrong. Hopefully, those steps will exceed a pat apology.

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How Familiar Are Politicos With The Nuances Of Homelessness?

HMLS New Yorker

I’m particularly concerned with how knowledgeable politicians who have been tasked with solving social problems are when it comes to the issue of homelessness. I am particularly concerned about this when it comes to New York City; not only because it is my hometown, but because it has exceeded Great Depression levels of homelessness, and local politicos are expressing exasperation when it comes to dealing with this issue. (CLICK HERE to read about NYC’s mayor’s expressed exasperation.”)

In a recent ABC News report on homelessness, the New York City governor’s statements regarding the homeless problem does not convey confidence that he is knowledgeable regarding the nuances of the issue. When asked to address the issue of homeless people using the public train system as a place to sleep, the governor reportedly said the following: “Let’s get real. Let’s get the homeless the help they need. Shelters, mental health, job training et cetera. Second, the New York City Transit Authority is owned by the city and policed by the NYPD. The NYPD used to do this. They need to do this again.”

Based on the aforementioned quote attributed to Governor Cuomo, I wonder if the governor is aware of, or has considered, the following:

• Many people who are “street homeless” are avoiding the city’s dangerous, drug-riddled shelters like the plague.

• Many homeless people don’t need “job training,” or “mental health” assistance. Many of the homeless are employed people whose employment is only threatened by being homeless and living in one of the city’s homeless shelters. I wonder if the governor, and other city politicos, are aware of how homeless shelter protocols, and conditions, threaten so many homeless people’s employment.

• How would NYPD be able to tell the difference between some of the people who are sleeping on the train because they are homeless, and people who are on their way home and have fell asleep on the train after a long day? There are stereotypes about what a homeless person looks like. There are some people who may be deemed perfectly coiffed and groomed who are homeless and sleeping on the train. In the governor’s eyes, does the well-groomed homeless have a right to sleep on the train while the less-groomed homeless don’t? Does the governor suggest that NYPD officers approach anyone on the train who has their eyes shut and ask them if they are homeless, or on their way home; and then expel them from the train based on their answer?

We clearly need politicians who are not so far removed from the issues the city’s citizens are facing. We also need politicos who dedicate, and assemble. the proper brain power to grapple with serious issues.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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Why NYC Mayor’s Recent Statements On Homelessness Should Cause Great Concern

HMLS New Yorker

Being that Mayor De Blasio is the incumbent mayoral candidate in a political race where he, arguably, does not have any viable opponents, I am deeply interested in what he has to say regarding the state of homelessness in New York City. It is likely that his vision and actions will loom largely over this issue over the next four years.

The mayor recently stated the following regarding homelessness to the New York Daily News: “Obviously, I am not happy with where we stand on homelessness…We did that wrong and I take full responsibility for taking so long to put together a holistic plan. That’s on me and my team. To end homelessness in New York City, I don’t know how and when that happens…On homelessness, I think we’re talking about a long war and people should be honest about that.”

The aforementioned quote is troubling to me because it expresses a lack of confidence and know-how in dealing with the homeless crisis that has exploded in New York City. I also find this quote troubling because the homeless crisis is referred to as a “long war.” The last societal issue that was framed as a war, the “war on drugs,” was a losing proposition and continues to be so decades later. I hope this will not be true of the homeless crisis too.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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NYC Mayor Admits To Mistakes Regarding Homelessness, Says It’s A “Long War”

HMLS New Yorker

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio spoke with the New York Daily News about his first term in office as mayor, and his hopes for the future of the city. He reportedly stated that he has regrets regarding the manner in which his administration handled to homeless crisis.

He is quoted in the New York Daily News as stating the following regarding his strategies for grappling with the city’s unprecedented homelessness quagmire: “Obviously, I am not happy with where we stand on homelessness…We did that wrong and I take full responsibility for taking so long to put together a holistic plan. That’s on me and my team. To end homelessness in New York City, I don’t know how and when that happens…On homelessness, I think we’re talking about a long war and people should be honest about that.”

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Homeless New Yorker Stat: 10% Of NYC Students Homeless

HMLS New Yorker

According to a recent interview on DNA Info, a study that was done by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students, has found that: “One out of every 10 New York City students were identified as homeless [during] the last school year.”

I am not certain if this figure is exclusive to only the public school system in NYC, or the NYC school system in its entirety. However, with, reportedly, approximately 1.1 million children in the NYC public school system, the aforementioned statistic means that at least 110,000 children in New York City have been homeless during the last school year.

With numbers this high, why isn’t homelessness the premier issue during this upcoming New York City election?

-The HMLS New Yorker

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PayPal CEO On Being Homeless For A Day In NYC

PayPal CEO, Dan Shulman, recently did an interview with Alyson Shontell for Business Insider’s podcast, “Success: How I Did It.” During the interview, he addressed being homeless for a day in New York City in order to bring awareness to homelessness- particularly homelessness among the youth. . Here is an excerpt of that below:

“QUESTION: One interesting thing that you did when you were CEO of Virgin Mobile is you spent 24 hours homeless on the streets of New York City, begging for money and food. Why did you do it, and what did you learn?

ANSWER: It was quite an informative and impactful thing for me, not just doing that, but going forward as well. At the time, Virgin Mobile decide that the cause we were going to draw attention to was homeless youth. There is obviously a homelessness problem in the country, but there’s also a couple of million kids who are homeless on the street for different reasons and they don’t really have a voice. They’re usually pretty much preyed upon, and we thought, Virgin Mobile is a youth-oriented service, we want to do something in which we can give back. But I quickly realized that if you want to talk about something, if you want to believe in something, you can’t just intellectualize it, you have to experience it because I think the power of your voice comes from your brain, obviously, but also your heart.

I went with a person who was the executive director of a homeless youth organization, and we met and we basically went in jeans and a T-shirt. I hadn’t shaved in a while. We could only carry a quarter to make a phone call from a pay phone if we were in trouble. We had to beg for money, for food, for coffee. It was only 24 hours, so let’s not turn this into some heroic thing, but what it really did give me is an appreciation of just what people go through and how difficult life is when you don’t have the things that you just take for granted. This carried over as we went into financial inclusion and some other things that I’ve really been a champion of. But actually living what it’s like not having a checking account, not to have a credit or a debit card, and waiting in lines and seeing how much it costs and seeing how much it costs and seeing the environment around you and feeling that sort of indignity that can go on with not having things again that affluent.

QUESTION: Where did you sleep, and how did you eat, and what did you do for that day?

ANSWER: The day goes on forever because you don’t have much to do and it’s hot and we tried to sleep in a couple of different places, but you get kicked out of them quite a bit. So we climbed over a fence and slept in a skateboard park on the Lower East Side. I can only imagine what it’s like for that being your life for the foreseeable future. I became a very fierce advocate for it. I went down to Congress, testified, bought in people like Jewel to come in to testify at Congress. She was homeless for a while as well. We got the Senate to pass some resolutions on it. We gave free concerts, but people had to volunteer at homeless shelters. It was really all about raising awareness for homeless youth.”

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