2020 has sadly started with tragedy in the New York City shelter system. On January 11, 2020, it was reported that 2-month old boy/girl twins died at a family shelter located near LaGuardia Airport. The death of the twins at The Landing Hotel is the second reported tragic occurrence at the shelter in two months. Just this last November, a 38-year old man was fatally stabbed outside of The Landing Hotel.
According to the New York Post, the father of the twins said that he put the babies in their cribs for a nap, and when he checked on them a few hours later they were unresponsive. The babies were later declared dead at Elmhurst Hospital.
Deepest condolences to the family.
-The Homeless New Yorker
Earlier this month, two deadly stabbings resulting in the death of two men occurred at two different New York City homeless shelters.
According to ABC News, on November 5, 2019, a 38-year old man was fatally stabbed directly outside of The Landing Family Shelter, located in East Elmhurst, Queens, next to LaGuardia airport. Reportedly,an argument precipitated the stabbing that left the victim dead from a wound to his torso. The police have arrested a suspect in this case; a 34-year old man who had allegedly been evicted from the shelter in October 2019.
According to The New York Times, another fatal homeless shelter stabbing occurred on November 10, 2019. A resident at Basic Housing Men’s Homeless Shelter, located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was stabbed to death during a brawl with his roommate.
These incidents highlight the deadly dangers that are constantly present at a large majority of New York City homeless shelters. Many homeless shelter residents are not only grappling with the disorienting and detrimental affects of not having adequate housing, they are also facing life-threatening perils that are present at New York City homeless shelters.
Last week, about a half-dozen residents of the Auburn Family Shelter in Brooklyn became violently ill after eating chicken salad served at the facility. Residents who consumed the poisonous meal immediately became ill and began vomiting.
The salad that caused the food poisoning was reportedly expired. According to CBS News, “The first label said the chicken salad would expire Oct. 31, but there was a second label underneath saying the chicken expired almost two months ago on Sept. 5.”
CBS News also states that the food vendor that was “responsible for the rancid chicken had been cited by the FDA for unsanitary conditions”; still the food vendor “holds a $35 million contract” with New York City to service the shelters.
A shelter resident who witnessed the residents falling ill told The Patch that the shelter’s workers and security guards stood around laughing at the horrific medical emergency scene.
It should be noted that yesterday, a former worker at this same homeless shelter was convicted of sexually assaulting residents. (CLICK HERECLICK HERECLICK HERE for the article.)
SIDEBAR: I wonder if, or when, the food service provider will lose their contract with the city. $35 million of NYC taxpayers’ money…SMH! I also wonder if the security guards and shelter workers who thought people being food poisoned was hilarious still have their jobs today.
Yet another prime example why homeless New Yorkers fear the NYC shelter system.
On Thursday, a former Department of Homeless Services (DHS) community coordinator and housing specialist was convicted of sexually abusing and forcibly touching three women who were residents at the homeless shelter where he was assigned to work.
According to Bklyner, the serial sexual abuser, who worked at the Auburn Family Shelter in Brooklyn, was convicted of three counts of forcible touching and one count of third-degree sexual abuse.
He has yet to be sentenced. He is reportedly facing up to two years in prison. His sentencing is set for December 16, 2019.
This criminal situation is a prime example of why so many homeless people refuse to stay in NYC shelters.
In another throw things against the wall to see what sticks strategy to deal with New York City’s serious homelessness problem, the city has reportedly committed to hiring 500 new MTA officers to patrol subway stations and “fix quality of life issues”; meaning homeless people who have taken to the subway system for shelter.
According to The Gothamist, “The hiring will nearly double the number of MTA police, which currently stands at 783.” However, the subway stations are also supposedly patrolled by thousands of NYPD officers. The Gothamist also states, “Good government group Reinvent Albany notes that the city already pays more than 2,500 NYPD officers to patrol subways and buses.”
In the midst of seeking to hire transit officers, the MTA has reportedly cut train cleaning positions. The Transit Workers Union Local 100 has stated that 81 such jobs has been cut (Source: The Gothamist). This is inexplicable because anyone who rides the subways in New York City can attest to the necessity of having more train car cleaners on the job. Also, is cleanliness not directly linked to quality of life issues?
While the city MTA officers and decreases the number of much needed cleaners, the price tag for the new hires will be a hefty one. According to news source, The City, the cost of the aforementioned 500 new hires could “exceed $260 million over four years. That calculation includes the price tag for benefits and the hiring of supervisors.”
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.