Woman Set On Fire At Queens, New York Homeless Shelter

Verve Hotel

A woman was reportedly set on fire inside of a Queens, New York homeless shelter.

According to several news sources, the victim is a resident at the Verve Hotel, a Long Island City Hotel that currently serves as a 200-bed homeless shelter.

Allegedly, the 51-year old victim got into a verbal dispute with another female resident at the shelter, and the woman doused her with nail polish remover and lit her on fire.

Presumably, the identity of the assailant is known. According to PIX 11 News, the perpetrator is a 33-year old woman, who has yet to be apprehended.

Sadly, it is not surprising that a heinous crime such as this one occurred inside of a New York City homeless shelter. The conditions in NYC shelters are extremely dangerous!! Although New York City spends millions on shelter “security,” security is extremely lax in a lot of shelters. I’ve personally witnessed shelter “security officers” sleeping on the job, having sing-alongs and social conversations when they should be working, and a bevy of other behaviors that greatly contribute to shelters being an extremely unsafe environment.

My prayers are with the victim of this unconscionable crime, and with everyone who is sleeping in a shelter tonight.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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2 Newborn Babies Dead At 2 Different NYC Shelters

Saratoga Family Inn

It’s only approximately three weeks into 2018, and there has already been at least two deaths of newborn babies in two different New York City homeless shelters.

In both cases, the New York City Daily News states that the cause of death of the babies has not yet been determined.

On the first Wednesday of 2018, a baby living in a Queens shelter, Saratoga Family Inn, died. This is not the first time a baby has perished as this shelter. In 2004, a three-month old baby died at the shelter after being found unconscious. In 2003, twin babies also died at the shelter via suffocation.

Yesterday, according to the New York Daily News, a baby born at the Callaway Family Residence, a shelter for pregnant women located in the Bronx, died after he was found not breathing.

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NYC Homeless Shelter Administrator Sexual Harasses Homeless Women

HMLS New Yorker

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!!!

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New Legislation Requires Homeless Shelters To Be Prepared For Opioid Overdoses

HMLS New Yorker

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.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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A HMLS New Yorker Describes What It’s Like To Live In A Shelter

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.

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Sweltering Shelters

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.

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What Do You Do About Sweltering Shelters?

Temperature May 18

Thankfully, the temperature has dropped today. However, for three days this week, the temperatures soared into the high 80s and low 90s. My shelter room was sweltering.

During the Summer of 2016, I was in a shelter that had central air. Although the rooms were kept relatively cool on the days the central air was working and turned on, there was a downside to having central air in that particular shelter; the cornucopia of drug fumes that came through the vents were astounding. Shelter administrators said there was nothing they could do about the noxious drug fumes coming through the vents because it was likely coming from several different rooms, and blowing through the ventilation system.

The shelter that I am currently in has no cooling system, although the drug aroma is ubiquitously present. During the hot weather, the room got unbearably hot and stuffy. It was too uncomfortable to sleep. I wonder what The Department of Homeless Services prescribes in this situation. Are residents allowed to purchase air conditioners? If so, is that feasible given the transient nature of being a homeless shelter resident? What about residents who can’t afford such accoutrements, if they are allowed? What do they do to escape the unbearable heat and stuffiness? How does one live under such suffocating conditions during the summer months, or even during a heat wave?

I hope the weather remains cool for as long as possible.

-The HMLS New Yorker

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The NYC Shelter System: The New Prison-Industrial Complex

Homeless New Yorker Ad

The New York City shelter system seems to be the new prison-industrial complex. However, unlike the treacherous prison system, you don’t have to commit a crime, or be falsely accused of committing a crime, to be ensnared in the New York City shelter system.

The New York City shelter system is comprised of the vast and varied pool of: The employed (including city workers), the unemployed, the old, the young, the middle-aged, the educated, the uneducated, the disabled, married people, single people, the formerly incarcerated, the never incarcerated, the healthy, the sick, the sane, the insane, etc. However, the expansiveness of this pool thinly narrows when it comes to race.

Is homelessness in New York a race issue, just like the disproportionate number of Black people imprisoned? You bet! Black New Yorkers have been “gentrified” out of the City, or into homeless shelters. These shelters are akin to prisons; as they are run as such. As someone who is currently a resident in the New York City shelter system, I can attest to this.

Like the prison system, the New York City shelter system is a profit-driven industry that encourages recidivism, and is not designed for the easy escape of its prisoners. The penitentiary-like conditions, and the red-tape ridiculousness, I confront on a daily basis as a resident of the New York City shelter system is baffling and appalling. When you factor in the fact that the City plans to expand the abominable homeless shelter system, it is clear that there is no plan to abate the dreadful conditions that are being visited upon homeless New Yorkers.

We; the knowing, abled, and concerned; must collectively combat this conundrum. Although there is a privileged group of New Yorkers (aka elected officials) who have been entrusted, and financially enriched, to perform the aforementioned task; it is obvious that something is amiss. We must step up to the plate a fiercely attack homelessness. What is left of our community depends on it.

-The HMLS New Yorker

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A Day In The Life Of A NYC Homeless Shelter Resident: May 10, 2017

HMLS New Yorker

[PLEASE NOTE: I WILL PERIODICALLY UPDATE THIS POST UNTIL 12 MIDNIGHT 5/11/17.]

• 12:26 AM: Was awakened by security when he had to yell to a resident to “draw the curtain,” while the resident was using the shower. Presumably, the bathroom floods when the curtain isn’t drawn. This is another one of those nuisances that one has to grin and bear when residing in a shelter. It’s not like the security officer had any other option but to yell this out.

• 2:44 AM: Was awakened by a strong drug smell seeping into our room.

• 4:44 AM and 5:47 AM: A drug aroma wafts into our room.

• Today, I had to run what I call “homeless errands,” once again. These are errands that eat up your time, and errands that you wouldn’t have to do if you weren’t homeless. This includes picking up mail from my post office box, going to storage, searching for housing, and attempting to untangle all the red tape of the various agencies you have to deal with when you’re homeless.

• Stopped by the health store to buy essential oils. This is a necessary expense when you are trying to fight off the negative effects of living in close proximity to drug users.

• Got a bubble tea; one of my comfort foods. You’ll need to have a snack or two that takes you to your happy place when you are living in the shelter system. Lol.

• Was uplifted by a highlight of the day; seeing a performance by middle-school students. It’s always inspiring to see young people use their talents.

• Came back to the shelter in the afternoon, and got more than a couple of whiffs of the afternoon drug session. SMH! Unfortunately, the evening hours was more of the same.

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The Hope Springs Eternal Shelter

Window Dressing

When I first got to the shelter I currently reside in, I was optimistic that it was going to be a well-run facility that had a professional and efficient staff. After being forcibly transferred from a facility rife with violence, rampant drug use, and a slew of management problems (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE for my posts on my shelter transfer experience), it would have been a near impossibility for this shelter to be worse than the one we came from.

At intake, on December 5, 2016, the shelter’s administrator told us to look forward to being in our new home by New Year’s. She said the shelter was good at what they did, and seeing that we are a family with strictly a housing issue, we should look forward to placement soon.

Being that this shelter didn’t immediately reveal having the problems that the previous shelter had, such as: Impotent, militaristic security; an extremely loud hallway environment; blatantly ornery caseworkers; rules that banned bottled water, or any type of food or beverage; etc.; We had a good first impression. However, our first impression was not a lasting impression.

In approximately a month, the shiny veneer began to peel. The following situations reared their ugly heads:
• An unrelentingly, intense drug smell began to waft into our room on a daily basis; a problem we reported and had good faith would be quashed by the shelter’s administrators and staff. It wasn’t.

• The housing-search packet given to me by a shelter administrator, which seemed so great because the previous shelter’s administrators never provided such a resource, proved to be chock-full of disconnected or ever-ringing numbers, scammers, and realtors who were blatantly discriminatory.

• Staff could be heard cursing residents, even over the intercom.

• No tangible housing placement help has been given.

• Administrators use bullying tactics towards residents, and abuse their power.

• Just like the previous shelter, administrators schedule meetings they fail to show up to.

• Administrators make false claims on paperwork; such as, marking documents as “2nd issued,” when it is the first time they present it to a resident.

• Etc., etc., etc.

Although this shelter will, hopefully, never be as bad as the previous shelter, which I nicknamed Alcatraz; being better than the worse doesn’t make you good, or even acceptable.

It’s sad and disappointing to say, but beware of shelters proclaiming efficiency and professionalism. Wait to see consistency, or you just might be bamboozled.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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