“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
“[Although this system] functions at a high level of technological efficiency, it is an illegitimate system, since it rests upon the suffering of humans who are as worthy and dignified as those who do not suffer.” -Huey Newton
[SIDEBAR: Although the aforementioned quote is apropos to homelessness, I would never describe any parts of the homeless shelter system in NYC as functioning on a “high level.” SMH! The only thing that is high-level about that system is its treachery!]
You must always follow the paper trail. In order to do so, you must have the paperwork.
I requested my file from both, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), via an attorney. It has taken an inordinate amount of time to receive both. I finally got my DHS file after waiting several weeks, and I am currently waiting to receive my HRA file after a wait of several weeks. I have been told that it is unusual for it to take this long to receive these files.
I wonder why it is taking so long for me to get my files. When I finally received my DHS file, it was expunged of almost all of the letters that I wrote DHS. (Yes, they received my letters. I mailed them in a manner that confirms receipt.) In addition to this, my DHS file was full of lies and fabrications. I’m patiently waiting to see what will be in my HRA file.
Be sure to request a copy of your files if you are engaged in any dealings with these agencies. No matter how long it takes for you to receive your paperwork, it is of the upmost importance that you have documentation of how these agencies document things.
I concur on what this woman says living in a New York City homeless shelter is like. I’ve experienced the degradation caused by shelter employees and administrators, the adverse effects to employment, the lumping of people together, the oppressive curfew system, the red tape run-around, the lack of tangible housing assistance, the train system being used as make-shift shelters overnight, and much more.
Unfortunately, this is all too common. I have experienced this myself.
I, too, purchased a thermometer to document the temperature of my room. CLICK HERE to see my post. NOTE: The thermometer pictured in my post (in the “CLICK HERE” link) was from May 2017. I can only imagine how high the temperature has risen in some shelter rooms is the midst of the summer season.
This is exactly why I advise every shelter resident to keep copious notes. SMH!! [SIDEBAR: There’s no way a person who is struggling under the strain of homelessness should have to, or be able to, keep better, and more accurate documentation, than whole staffs of people who get paid taxpayers’ money to provide “professional” services. SMH!] Integrity and efficiency issues seem to proliferate in an agency that is supposed to help people in need; the paperwork substantiates this. SMH!
All New York City homeless shelter residents should keep a THOROUGH journal/accounting of EVERYTHING that goes on during their residency in a shelter. This includes times, dates, names, descriptions of events, any communications with administrators, sign-in and sign-out times, housing-search efforts, and ANYTHING else that is relevant to your shelter situation. Be sure to make back-ups in a variety of formats, and store them for safe-keeping. If you follow this advice, you will thank me later!
Secondly, homeless shelter residents should subpoena a copy of their Department of Homeless Services (DHS) files from DHS. Carefully review your files and compare them to your accurate accounting and chronicling of events. You MUST know what is being written in your file, and what may be purposely omitted from your DHS file. This is extremely important because in most cases, as a homeless shelter resident, shelter and DHS administrators treat you in accordance with what is written in your file.
I have come into contact with shelter administrators who regard what is written in residents’ DHS files as gospel. Due to the gravity that is associated with these files, residents MUST be equipped with the knowledge of what they contain.