Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Homelessness

Homelessness

  • mastro home vandalism lucerne homeless shelter controversy

    Vandalism at the home of Randy Mastro, the author


    It happened two weeks ago in the dead of night. More than a dozen people wearing hoods and masks arrived on bicycles outside my family's Manhattan residence and proceeded to vandalize it.

    In premeditated, coordinated fashion, the perpetrators spray-painted, in bright red and black using cut-out stencils, profanities and slogans, such as ""F**k You Randy," "Prick," "Randy Mastro You Can't Displace Us," "No Room For NIMBY's," "Shame," and "Housing Is A Human Right," on the

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  • back ch ric

    Remote learning in action (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Amid widespread criticism about a lack of internet access for students in homeless shelters who need to get online more than ever to complete their school work, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would equip every shelter with WiFi. But advocates are raising questions about execution of that pledge, especially as tens of thousands of students living in shelters need internet access now in order to engage in remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Despite de Blasio’s promise, issued

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  • city wilnon dev

    Mayor de Blasio addressing housing plans (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City’s recent refusal to stand up to wealthy Upper West Siders is just another instance in an unending pattern of failures on housing and homelessness. 

    The saga of the Lucerne is emblematic of the interplay between the powerful and the powerless in New York City. In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the de Blasio administration (after fierce advocacy from the Homeless Can’t

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  • deb rosen uws 600

    Mayor de Blasio & Council Member Rosenthal at a town hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    September 2, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Controversy Over Homeless Shelters on the Upper West Side

    City Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Melissa Sanchez of Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative joined the show to discuss the controversy around new homeless shelters on the Upper West Side.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...

  • cm raf sala

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    I spent a good portion of my childhood and adolescence around the intersection of West 79th and Amsterdam, whether it was with my parents or friends’ parents at Bagels & Co., or picking up snacks at the Duane Reade or Insomnia, or covertly eating non-kosher at Island Burgers. So it has been deeply saddening for me to see such a cornerstone of my neighborhood be turned into a rallying cry for reactionary hatred. The temporary sheltering of a few hundred homeless people in the Lucerne, the Belleclaire, and the Belnord is the least

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  • hope survey hud

    The mayor carrying out the HOPE count (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    It’s a shame that the city’s well-intentioned efforts to stop COVID-19 from spreading throughout homeless shelters turned negative so quickly. After relocating thousands of shelter residents into hotels on the Upper West Side and Midtown, Mayor Bill de Blasio is now reversing course in response to community uproar.

    The mayor’s reversal is a stopgap measure, because the reality is that with a second wave of covid expected this fall, a similar drama will likely rear its head. So,

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  • proj hos food

    Food distribution during the covid crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    COVID-19 has taught us painful lessons about inadequate disaster preparedness and a vulnerable health-care ecosystem. In the midst of access obstacles, insufficient resources, and a limited federal response, a virus of moderate virulence and lethality has taken an appalling toll — over 140,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 including more than 700 health-care workers. Local providers and governments have had to scramble and improvise to manage the onslaught to prevent an even worse

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  • city working dev

    Housing discrimination must be addressed (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    In January 2015, I was released from a federal prison in California with the clothes I came in with, a few personal possessions I’d collected over the six years I had been incarcerated, and a bus ticket back to New York City. After a six-day journey home, I found myself subletting a room from a family friend – and as long as the rent was paid on time, they did not ask questions. Living in this apartment allowed me to find employment, cultivate relationships with my family, and continue pursuing

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  • jewish com council greater rosh

    New York City school children (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of New York City calling for an end to police brutality and equality of opportunity for people of color, and we are on the verge of sending our children back to school of some kind, it is time that we focus on the most vulnerable people of color, and that is homeless children.

    The organization Advocates For Children estimates that there are 114,000 homeless students in the New York City school system and that

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  • public outreach homes

    Mayor de Blasio with homeless outreach (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the city gradually reopens, we’ve seen many homeless New Yorkers kicked off the subways without being offered a safe, private alternative place to sleep. In some recent cases, we have seen police officers use unacceptable violence to drag homeless New Yorkers off the train. Fortunately, after repeated calls from homeless New Yorkers and advocates,

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  • unbrnded hra comm

    Homeless outreach workers approach a person in the subway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the city has been focused on the coronavirus crisis the attention concerning homeless people has been the growing number of them in the subway system, it is time we examined what is happening within the vast and very expensive shelter system that is costing $2 billion a year.

    As a former Deputy Commissioner with the New York City Department of Homeless Services I can tell you that there are three types of shelters. There is the single adult system, the adult

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  • perfect time houghton

    Mayor de Blasio makes a housing announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In the wake of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus shutdown, Mayor de Blasio must find budget savings anywhere he can, while still advancing his mission to make New York “the fairest big city” in America.  

    It won’t be easy. But the sudden drop in tax revenue should not stop the mayor from continuing to make one smart investment: creating new affordable housing.

    With the pandemic exposing the full extent of the city’s homeless crisis, now is

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  • flushing amid pandemic

    Governor Cuomo disinfects a subway car (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    The subway is New York’s circulatory system. If it doesn’t recover, New York won’t. But reopening the subway and the city means more than running more trains: It also means helping homeless New Yorkers who today have nowhere else safe to go.  

    That is because, as Governor Cuomo demonstrated, the city’s transit crisis is too entwined with its housing crisis for the MTA alone to bring the subway back. In response to the rising number of New Yorkers with no choice

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  • illegal hotel int

    Homeless New Yorkers must be cared for amid the coronavirus (photo: mayor's office)


    Last week we learned of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to move an additional 2,500 New Yorkers living in crowded shelters into hotel rooms by the end of April. While this may help some people escape the dangers of COVID-19, it simply does not meet the need.

    For tens of thousands of homeless New Yorkers, virtually all of the protocols to prevent contracting and spreading coronavirus are impossible. Homeless people, by definition,...

  • mbdb housing pres dev

    Mayor de Blasio at a supportive housing site (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    As our great city faces its most challenging crisis in the past 100 years, it has revealed to all of us how the city has radically changed in the past few decades.

    The virus has now put a spotlight on the critical shortage of hospital beds and medical equipment like ventilators. In fact New York City ICU bed capacity ranks in the bottom quarter nationally. If you have lived in the city for over 40 years, as I have, you likely recall how many hospitals have

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  • bellevue hos

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    What happens when a historic pandemic collides with an unprecedented housing crisis? The inextricable link between housing and health is now more apparent than ever as doctors both care for critically ill patients with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and simultaneously scramble to make plans for the most vulnerable in our society who simply have no place to isolate.

    Only a few weeks into this crisis, we have seen numerous patients recuperating from COVID-19 who linger for days in the hospital because of their need for

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  • census julie

    Efforts continue to get every New Yorker counted in 2020 Census (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City has reached a first-of-its kind agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau to transfer data on the city’s sheltered homeless population in a way that is intended to negate the need for census enumerators to perform their own separate count.

    Through the agreement, which was described to Gotham Gazette by an official from the city’s census office, the city will compile data on the roughly 60,000 people expected to be sheltered at around 650 sites in

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  • rafael sala holds

    A push for a new state homelessness-housing voucher continues (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As a doctor in the hospital, I bear witness to some of the most severe downstream effects of health inequity in our community. In my field, I care for any person who presents to the emergency room and is then deemed too sick to be discharged. Through years of clinical service, I have come to appreciate housing as the most vital component of a person’s ability to stay well.

    More recently, research surrounding individuals experiencing homelessness has

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  • thomas baxter report

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Imagine the reaction if the number of deaths within a particular neighborhood or among a certain ethnic, racial, or religious group had gone up by 40% in one year! There would be demonstrations on the steps of City Hall and the Mayor would be forced to respond.

    Unfortunately, that is what has happened among the city's homeless population. Between July 2018 and June of 2019, 404 people considered homeless in New York City died, according to ...

  • commvoicesheard

    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City doesn’t have a comprehensive plan for the future. There is no single guiding document that determines how housing will be built over the next decade, for example, overlaid with a strategy for meeting infrastructure needs like transit options and school seats, with unifying visions for social services and economic development. But such planning should exist, according to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is making several moves toward the type of planning that has mostly

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  • spk co jo ste lev

    Council Member Steve Levin & Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    February 12, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City Council's Plan to Reduce Homelessness

    ste levin wbaiCity Council Member Stephen Levin joined the show to discuss the City Council's new report and plan to reduce homelessness in New York City. Levin, chair of the Council committee with oversight of

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  • cojo adv

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday released a plan that he said takes a “smarter, more strategic, holistic, long-term” approach to addressing the city’s homelessness crisis, seeking to end what he called the siloed policies of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and calling for more funding from the city and state to both help homeless individuals find permanent housing and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

    “This is, without exaggeration, a humanitarian crisis in the wealthiest city in

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  • unbranded hra

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    It was early evening on a street corner on the Upper West Side. A young woman rushed up to me and asked for money so she could buy some dinner.  She was flushed, out of breath, and pregnant. Stories like this are a frequent occurrence for any New Yorker who walks the streets and takes the subways.  

    This young woman said she’d had a fight with her boyfriend and he’d kicked her out of their apartment. She had just been placed in a shelter and didn’t have supplies or food. Despite my desire, knowledge and

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  • hud sec julian castro mmv

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The city’s homelessness crisis is well-documented and deeply troubling, including far too many people sleeping on the streets and in the subways. If it seems like there are more and more people in those situations, it is because there are: the estimated number jumped 23% from 2018 to 2019, based on the one-night winter HOPE Count, to about 3,500 in total.

    The city’s efforts to reduce the street population have mostly failed. Nothing emphasizes this failure more than the recent murder of four

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  • may townhall residents

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio enters his seventh year in office, on the heels of a failed presidential bid and at a time when his political clout appears at its nadir, he faces many major challenges and big decisions ahead.

    2020, the next-to-last year of his second and final term, begins with a focus on public safety, including recent spikes in anti-Semitic hate crimes, murders, and byciclist fatalities, as well as how the city is adjusting to new state-mandated bail reforms that the mayor has

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