2 NYC Homeless Shelter Deaths You Probably Haven’t Heard About

Shleter Stabbing

Earlier this month, two deadly stabbings resulting in the death of two men occurred at two different New York City homeless shelters.

According to ABC News, on November 5, 2019, a 38-year old man was fatally stabbed directly outside of The Landing Family Shelter, located in East Elmhurst, Queens, next to LaGuardia airport. Reportedly,an argument precipitated the stabbing that left the victim dead from a wound to his torso. The police have arrested a suspect in this case; a 34-year old man who had allegedly been evicted from the shelter in October 2019.

According to The New York Times, another fatal homeless shelter stabbing occurred on November 10, 2019. A resident at Basic Housing Men’s Homeless Shelter, located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was stabbed to death during a brawl with his roommate.

These incidents highlight the deadly dangers that are constantly present at a large majority of New York City homeless shelters. Many homeless shelter residents are not only grappling with the disorienting and detrimental affects of not having adequate housing, they are also facing life-threatening perils that are present at New York City homeless shelters.


Former DHS Employee Convicted Of Sexually Assaulting Shelter Residents

Auburn Family Shelter

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.


Drugs Continue To Be A Problem At New York City Homeless Shelters

East River Shelter

New York City homeless shelters are notoriously drug riddled. There are many NYC homeless shelters where drugs are rampant and drug users are allowed to ingest drugs via a variety of methods with impunity. Shelter staff often turns a blind eye to obvious drug use; some even participate in the illegal activity in one form or another.

Proof of rampant drug use in and around New York City homeless shelters often appear in the form of news stories when the drug use leads to multiple overdoses, or some other ridiculously egregious event occurs.

It has been reported that, a few weeks ago, a mother residing at an East Harlem homeless shelter was charged with the crime of attempted murder after trying to drown her daughters in the shelter’s bathtub.

The mother subsequently told law enforcement that she had smoked “bad marijuana,” which caused her to experience hallucinations in which she thought her daughters were being attacked by bugs.

The use of synthetic marijuana at NYC homeless shelters has been widely reported, especially over the past few summer seasons. The drug has notably caused mass overdoses in New York City, in areas where there are homeless shelters.


Man Brutally Stabbed In Front Of A NYC Shelter With A History Of Violence

Stabbing At Aladdin Hotel

At the end of last month, a brutal stabbing took place in front of a Manhattan shelter. The stabbing which occurred at West 45th Street near Eighth Avenue, reportedly involved two shelter residents. The New York Daily News reported that the victim had multiple stab wounds, and police sources stated that “frantic 911 callers described what looked like his intestines spilling out of his body.”

The Aladdin Hotel shelter is allegedly slated to be closed at the end of the year.

The New York Daily News cites the shelter’s history of violence stating that: “Last August, two Aladdin residents stabbed a man to death around the corner from the shelter, after luring him to be robbed.” Also, the news source informs that in August 2015, performers from a nearby Broadway theater production witnessed a man being stabbed outside of the troubled shelter.


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!!!


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.


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


The Homeless New Yorker Red Tape Quote Of The Week: The Dream House Edition

HMLS New Yorker Red Tape

“This is not about getting your dream house.” -A Department of Homeless Services Administrator

The above statement was made to me by a New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) administrator during a case conference. I hadn’t heard a statement this preposterous and out-of-touch since Barbara Bush famously said the following about Hurricane Katrina survivors: “They’re underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

The New York City shelter system administrators I’ve come in contact with thus far seem so extremely out-of-touch with what their clients are experiencing, and with who their clients are as people.

The above-stated quote is so insulting to what my family has been through, and continues to go through.

The DHS administrator’s statement, and the context in which it was said, communicated to me that he thinks the following: My family got pushed out of our home of five-and-a-half years, with an order to vacate; came into the violent, drug-riddled, oppressive, unhealthy New York City shelter system; continually loses income/work opportunities due to shelter conditions and ridiculous red tape; entered a system where it’s EXTREMELY challenging to save money because, believe it or not, being homeless is just as, if not more, expensive than having a stable place to live where you pay rent and utilities; lives in a shelter that doesn’t allow residents to have bottled water (although this rule seems to only be subjugated to my family); lives in a dangerous, prison-like environment; lives in a shelter with constantly blaring music and screams from violent arguments; and a multitude of other pejoratives; as a ploy to get our “dream house.” SMH!! I will NEVER forget his statement and the mindset it conveys.

How can someone work with the homeless population and yet be so oblivious? It speaks volumes about the condition of the New York City Department of Homeless Services and the shelter system.


The First Indication I Got That Our Shelter Is Not Safe

HMLS New Yorker

Within the first 48 hours of us becoming residents of the homeless shelter we reside in, we got a clear indication that the facility we were entering was not safe.

We had barely completed the intake process when we heard a violent domestic altercation going on on the other side of our wall. We could hear a man viciously beating a woman. The man even loudly announced that he was going to “choke the woman out” and then call an ambulance for her.

Being more than alarmed, we quickly contemplated what we should do about the barbaric attack. How could we possibly intervene without placing ourselves at risk? We were new to the facility, and we didn’t know how our intervention would be taken. After all, this type of interceding has the potential to go tragically wrong in places that are a lot less volatile than a New York City homeless shelter.

Being that we had seen officers in the facility’s lobby our first night at the facility, we headed to the lobby to seek out the proper authorities to handle the situation. We still deemed this a risky proposition. We didn’t know if our new neighbors would have a negative reaction to our sending help. However, we didn’t harp on this thought for too long. The loud argument turned brutal assault sounded like it was steadily deteriorating.

We went to the lobby and asked the security supervisor if there were officers on duty. We were told that there were. We asked the security supervisor if an officer could be sent to the room next to ours. The security supervisor immediately picked up the phone and called for a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) officer. We returned to our room.

The DHS officer arrived at the room ten minutes later, a lifetime when there is an occurrence of an assault.

By the time the DHS officer arrived at the room, the woman had fled to a restroom. The DHS officer spoke gently to the man, telling him “he was not in trouble.” There were no repercussions for the man’s actions that night.

The whole event was a startling, scary indicator of what type of facility we are in.


When The People Who Are Supposed To Ensure Your Safety Are Asleep On The Job, Literally

HMLS New YorkerNew York City homeless shelters are not known for being safe havens. As a matter of fact, the facilities have a reputation for violence.

There have been several murders that have taken place on shelter grounds, this year alone. This includes the triple-murder of a mother, her 4-month old and her 1-year old, and the gruesome near-decapitation of a Manhattan shelter resident.

I have never felt safe as a resident of the City’s shelter system. The people who are supposed to keep you safe at the facility are asleep on the job in more ways than one.

In this particular post, I won’t discuss the slumbering state of shelter administrators, although that could very well apply too. Instead, I’ll discuss SOME of what I’ve observed from the employees who are supposed to ensure your physical safety.

I’ve seen shelter guards literally asleep on their posts. I’ve observed several guards in a deep sleep on their posts on more than one occasion. They have been in a nodding-out deep snooze, so much so that even approaching their assigned posts and engaging in shelter enter/exit protocols (i.e. signing the facility’s log book, attempting to turn in my room key while loudly giggling it, etc.) did not jolt them out of their slumber. These are the people who are supposed to be monitoring security cameras, and be on the ready if any type of emergency occurs.

I’ve also seen an officer on post two-stepping while singing along to the ever-playing music that plays through the shelter’s lobby speaker system (most of the first-floor residents are ceaselessly treated to a 24/7 concert). Nothing says, “I’m here to ensure your safety” like an officer clad in what appears to be body armor participating in hip-hop karaoke by the metal detector. The dichotomy of it all. SMH.

The conversations that I hear while these security/law enforcement “professionals” are supposedly on the job, and on post, are cringe worthy. These outwardly-spoken conversations will confirm to anyone listening that not only are residents’ safety not taken seriously, but the character and competency of the individuals hired to ensure residents’ safety is less than zero.

Tell a New York City shelter/Department of Homeless Services administrator that their shelter isn’t safe, and you’ll get met with a disingenuous, incredulous glare, and the response that I was met with: “I have officers and security in my shelters.” SMH.

Pretend as they might, I’d make a sizable wager that you would be hard pressed to find a shelter, or DHS administrator, who would entrust their daily safety, or that of any one of their loved ones, with any of the shelters under their administrative care.

The stark-raving dichotomy of entering a shelter and being met with simultaneous, militaristic shouts of “take off your belt,” “put your phone in the machine,” “take off your coat,” and seeing the lackadaisical, unprofessionalism I’ve witnessed, would be laughable if people’s safety wasn’t at stake. Aggression and competency ARE NOT identical twins.

-The Homeless New Yorker