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.
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.
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.
In an exclusive New York Daily News report, it has been disclosed that New York City is auditing Childrens Community Services, a homeless shelter provider that was granted $407 million in contracts from the City in June of 2017.
According to the New York Daily News, Childrens Community Services was granted the lucrative contracts to operate hotel shelters in New York City despite being a neophyte company that was formed only four years prior. It seems that the “nonprofit” company is currently in quite a fiscal pickle. Recent tax filings reportedly state that the company is “$6 million in the red.”
The New York Daily News states: “When the Daily News inquired about the nonprofit’s debts and murky financials, Homeless Services said it planned to procure an independent accounting firm to review Children Community Services and pare down the number of shelters the nonprofit operates.”
These are the types of dealings the City is engaging in in the midst of a homeless crisis? Who are the people making these decisions? Are there professional repercussions, and accountability, for those people’s actions? How will the City claw itself out of the homeless epidemic with going-ons like this?
“Every New Yorker should be outraged at the incompetence and even cruelty at the Department of Homeless Services. These families and children are ripped from their homes at a moment’s notice, traumatized again because DHS is failing in every way to address homelessness.” -Jimmy Van Brammer (NYC Councilmember) on the sloppy, forced transition of homeless families from a Queens hotel shelter. [Source: NY Daily News]
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!!!
Yesterday, legislation was passed by NYC’s City Council that will require that the city trains homeless shelter staff on how to administer naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The new bill requires that at least one homeless shelter staff member who is knowledgeable about how to use a naloxone kit must be on duty at all times. According to the New York Daily News, the bill also states that the city must “come up with a plan to train homeless shelter residents who are likely to cross path (sic) with opioid addicts to use naloxone.”
The city’s homeless shelters are rife with drug abuse; an issue that shelter administrators failed to address, or curtail, in all of the shelters where I was once a resident. In my experience, shelter residents were able to use drugs incessantly with impunity. It didn’t matter to shelter administrators that the drug use was rampant, and making non-drug users sick from the ever-present drug fumes.
In the shelters where I resided, shelter residents were able to do drugs in the shelters around-the-clock with nary a shelter employee intervening. (Shouldn’t shelter administrators have intervened at some point and mandated a treatment program for the obvious users?)
What the city needs to take into account in their implementation of this new legislation is that you can’t expect the same people who allow certain behaviors to proliferate to all of a sudden care enough to save a life because you put a medical kit in their hands, and pay them to attend a training class. The system needs to be revamped. That means extirpating a slew of shelter employees who negligently do their jobs.
When you are a resident of a homeless shelter, for all intents and purposes, you are akin to a “ward of the state.” You are treated as such by being subjected to stringent, unreasonable rules, which are confusingly mixed with ridiculously degrading living conditions. You would think that unreasonably stringent rules would at least be accompanied by efficiency; not in the New York City shelter system.
When you point out the inefficiencies, and the grossly negligent and harmful conditions that exist in the shelter to administrators, they will often respond with the retort of, “You live in a homeless shelter”; or, “You’re homeless.” The reasoning behind these statements is to imply that you should resign yourself to accept the unacceptable because you are homeless. Smh! NEVER ACCEPT WHAT IS UNACCEPTABLE! To do so is to lose a sense of humanity and to suppress your God-given rights. It also is the beginning of starting a downward spiral. Don’t allow anyone to implant destructive ideas into your thoughts.
“We are the victims of our habits, no matter who we are or what may be our life-calling. Any idea that is deliberately fixed in the mind, or any idea that is permitted to set itself up in the mind, as the result of suggestion, environment, the influence of associates, etc. is sure to cause us to indulge in acts which conform to the nature of the idea.” -Napoleon Hill