Last night, it was discovered that a homeless man had passed away while riding on an uptown D train. Law enforcement officials reportedly believe that the man passed away from natural causes.
According to the New York Daily News, bed bugs covered the man’s body, and passengers noticed that the man was deceased when his body fell over as the train was pulling into the Columbus Circle station.
We are in the harshest part of the winter season in New York. So many people without homes are suffering. Humans shouldn’t have to live or die like this. My deepest condolences to this man.
-The Homeless New Yorker
There are numerous similarities between New York City’s homeless shelter system, the prison system, and chattel slavery. A recent situation that confirms this premise is the abrupt relocation of women shelter residents from a Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn facility.
More than 100 homeless women were notified that they would be removed from the Bowery Residents’ Committee operated Lexington Avenue shelter and relocated to various shelters throughout the city to make room for homeless men with mental health challenges. According to Brooklyn Paper, the women were notified of the mandated move only 48 hours before it began to take place.
This type of unsettling transfer seems to be protocol for New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS). It is not an anomaly for DHS to uproot homeless residents from their shelters at less than a moment’s notice; and yes, they will do this at any given time of the year, even during the holiday season.
Brooklyn Paper states that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo have spoken out against the transfers and have tried to get Mayor de Blasio’s administration and DHS Commisioner Stephen Banks to halt the unsettling move. However, thus far, it has been to no avail. Councilwoman Cumbo is quoted as saying: “I have had a heated conversation with Commissioner Banks about this. When the heat didn’t go the way that I wanted it to go- I begged.”
I wonder how the commissioner of DHS and the mayor’s administration rationalize such a callous upheaval; that is, if they rationalize it at all.
-The Homeless New Yorker
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.
New York City is proposing the implementation of a mandatory Income Savings Program (ISP) for working homeless shelter residents. Under this program all employed New York City homeless shelter residents will be required to deposit 30% of their income into a city-controlled savings account. Failure to do so would reportedly result in eviction from the shelter.
According to City Limits, the shelter residents will only be able to access the aforementioned account 30-45 days after exiting the shelter.
This proposal is ridiculously flawed for a multitude of reasons. Opponents to the proposal recently spoke out at a public hearing regarding the implementation of this program.
According to Insider, “An investigation from NY1 found that there were more than than 44,000 elevator outages in New York City public housing [NYCHA] buildings in 2018, averaging about 121 breakdowns a day.”
The elevator outages were said to last, on average, about 12 hours each.
The Insider states: There are a total of 2,351 NYCHA buildings. These buildings contain an aggregate of more than 3,200 elevators that make approximately 3.2 million trips daily. The annual budget to maintain NYCHA’s elevators is $74 million.