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!!!
When you reside in a shelter, you are mandated to attend regularly scheduled meetings called Independent Living Plan (ILP) meetings. These meetings are conducted by your assigned case worker.
The tone and context of these meetings are akin to what I would imagine parole meetings are like. They mostly have a disciplinary type of function. During an ILP, you sign your room check form for the random room checks that are performed weekly; you sign a document that says you will continue to follow the rules, take off your belt before you come through the metal detector, keep any meetings the shelter decides to schedule for you at their whim, etc.
The ILP meetings don’t provide any tangible help for you to get housing. Although your case worker is also supposed to be your “housing specialist,” they don’t provide you with any valuable help to assist you in securing housing. (I’ll elaborate on that in a future blog post.) I say this to say, it was during an ILP meeting that I, by chance, discovered that violent sex offenders reside in the same shelter I do.
During one of my ILP meetings, my case worker carelessly left an array of documents containing people’s personal information out on her desk. Among these documents carelessly left askew for any and all to see, were sex offender papers.
No, shelter residents are not alerted to the fact that they are living in close-quarters with violent perpetrators of sex crimes. I found this out because my case worker did not honor the confidentiality protocols that require that personal documents are not left out in the open.
Upon further investigation, I recently found out that there are several violent sex offenders residing in the shelter I currently reside in. This should not be allowed. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly. This week, I discovered a few exposès that exposed other NYC homeless shelters that have violent sex offenders living amongst women and children unbeknownst to them.