Drugs Continue To Be A Problem At New York City Homeless Shelters

East River Shelter

New York City homeless shelters are notoriously drug riddled. There are many NYC homeless shelters where drugs are rampant and drug users are allowed to ingest drugs via a variety of methods with impunity. Shelter staff often turns a blind eye to obvious drug use; some even participate in the illegal activity in one form or another.

Proof of rampant drug use in and around New York City homeless shelters often appear in the form of news stories when the drug use leads to multiple overdoses, or some other ridiculously egregious event occurs.

It has been reported that, a few weeks ago, a mother residing at an East Harlem homeless shelter was charged with the crime of attempted murder after trying to drown her daughters in the shelter’s bathtub.

The mother subsequently told law enforcement that she had smoked “bad marijuana,” which caused her to experience hallucinations in which she thought her daughters were being attacked by bugs.

The use of synthetic marijuana at NYC homeless shelters has been widely reported, especially over the past few summer seasons. The drug has notably caused mass overdoses in New York City, in areas where there are homeless shelters.

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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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NYC’s Homelessness Policy Report Card

Coalition For The Homeless Logo

In the Coalition For The Homeless’s most recent report on the state of homelessness in New York, they created a “Homelessness Policy Report Card.” On their report card, they gave New York City the following grades:

Housing Production and Supply: F
Housing Vouchers and Stability: B-
Supportive Housing; C
Homelessness Prevention: A-
Meeting the Unprecedented Need for Shelters: C+
Family Intake and Eligibility: D
Shelter Conditions: C+
Homeless Children and Students: C-

SIDEBAR: I’m not sure how shelter conditions and homeless children and students didn’t both get an F+

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Tenants’ Right To Organize In NYC

LES Tenants

The following New York Real Property Laws provide tenants with the right to organize without harassment:

“Tenants have a legal right to organize. They may form, join and participate in tenant organizations for the purpose of protecting their rights. Landlords are required to permit tenant organizations to meet, at no cost, in any community or social room in the building, even if the use of the room is normally subject to a fee. Tenant organization meetings are required to be held at reasonable times and in a peaceful manner which does not obstruct access to the premises.” (Real Property § 230)

“Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their rights. For example, landlords may not seek to evict tenants solely because tenants (a) make good faith complaints to a government agency about violations of any health or safety laws; or (b) take good faith actions to protect rights under their lease; or (c) participate in tenant organizations. Tenants may collect damages from landlords who violate this law, which applies to all rentals except owner-occupied dwellings with fewer than four units.” (Real Property § 223-b)

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9 Rent Regulation Proposals Up For Vote

New York

These are the nine rent regulation proposals that will go to the legislative floor for a vote [SOURCE: City]:

1)Expansion of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, which regulates rents and evictions during a housing emergency. (A housing emergency is when there is a housing vacancy rate of 5% or lower.)

2)Prohibiting evictions without “good cause.”

3)End vacancy decontrol, which makes a rent-stabilized apartment no longer eligible for stabilization if its rent exceeds $2,774.76 or the tenant’s household income exceeds $200,000.

4)Eliminating the vacancy bonus, which allows landlords to increase the rent on an apartment by 20% every time a lease changes hands.

5)Make preferential rents permanent until vacancy.

6)End rent hikes for major capital improvements.

7)End rent hikes for individual apartment improvements.

8)Extend time for overcharge complaints by eliminating the statute of limitations regarding this issue for rent-stabilized tenants.

9)Rent control and rent stabilization increase cap.

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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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Upcoming Public Hearings Regarding New York Rent Laws

Medgar Evers College

New York’s rent laws are set to expire on June 15. Before this deadline, the NYS Senate Housing Committee is holding public hearings throughout the State to hear public testimony regarding tenant protection and rent regulations.

The upcoming hearings are as follows:

1) Thursday, May 16 (1PM-8PM) Medgar Evers College; 1650 Bedford Avenue; Brooklyn, New York 11225.
2) Wednesday, May 22 (1PM-8PM) Albany Legislative Office Building.
3)Thursday, May 23 (2:30PM- 8PM) Hudson Valley at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center; 321 South William Street; Newburgh, NY 12550.

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Man Brutally Stabbed In Front Of A NYC Shelter With A History Of Violence

Stabbing At Aladdin Hotel

At the end of last month, a brutal stabbing took place in front of a Manhattan shelter. The stabbing which occurred at West 45th Street near Eighth Avenue, reportedly involved two shelter residents. The New York Daily News reported that the victim had multiple stab wounds, and police sources stated that “frantic 911 callers described what looked like his intestines spilling out of his body.”

The Aladdin Hotel shelter is allegedly slated to be closed at the end of the year.

The New York Daily News cites the shelter’s history of violence stating that: “Last August, two Aladdin residents stabbed a man to death around the corner from the shelter, after luring him to be robbed.” Also, the news source informs that in August 2015, performers from a nearby Broadway theater production witnessed a man being stabbed outside of the troubled shelter.

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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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