While some affluent Upper West Side residents may be spooked by homeless New Yorkers placed in neighborhood hotels, some residents of controversial hotel shelters said on Wednesday that the city’s accommodations had helped them stay in. good health during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
When a man described his living situation during the outbreak in other parts of the city as a prison atmosphere with COVID-19 plaguing residents, the city’s homeless services department told him has given her own space on the West Side to manage, keep clean and insulate until the worst of the wave breaks.
Additionally, City Councilor Stephen Levin wants the city or state government to come up with a real solution to homelessness through prevention efforts such as better housing vouchers before it is limited for one. mandate in 2021 with the majority of the municipal council.
“I was in a shelter gathered with around 230 men, dormitory style… The situation started with a few elderly men with COVID-19 and then it spread like wildfire around the island under the name of Wards. Since being on the Upper West Side I have felt 100 times safer, 100 times more isolated, ”said Roberto Mangual. “With the situation going on on the Upper West Side and the homeless community is not wanted there, I feel like it’s very hard. First, just because we didn’t choose to be here, we don’t control where we are placed and sheltered. At the same time, I feel like a line has been drawn in the sand where some people support us and others don’t.
Unlike services in the notoriously bad environment of Wards Island, Mangual told a press conference on Wednesday that the social services provided at the hotel he was placed in in the Upper West was a major improvement. Instead of being a case number, he says, he received more personalized treatment that helped him where other social services had left him.
Levin, who represents Brooklyn, called on Blasio’s administration to expand housing assistance programs, among other measures in May to protect homeless New Yorkers from the threat of COVID-19. He was a staunch critic of DHS and leadership within the agency long before the pandemic.
“I think the response from residents of the Upper West Side has been very disappointing. I will say this, we have a city and we are all in the same situation… We do not live in a city closed by medieval walls or a moat, people are free to walk from Midtown to the Upper West Side to Harlem, ”Levin told me. ” [Housing vouchers] not worth it for homeowners to take because they are so much below the fair market rent… I don’t care who pays for it – the state wants to pay for it? It’s awesome. The state is not going to pay for it, the city has to do it… I am coming to the end of my term on the municipal council and I lack patience.
According to Mangual, a higher value on city housing vouchers is needed more than ever for homeless people, which would help low-income New Yorkers compete in the competitive market.
At the end of 2019, the infirmity of the city’s housing assistance programs became evident when a couple spoke to amNewYork Metro about what the New York City Housing Voucher program had done for them: slum conditions in a crime-ridden area of Newark as opposed to the five boroughs where they worked and called home. The living situation did little good to Francisco Rivera who, after months of traveling between New Jersey and the city, said he had lost his job as a maintenance man in Manhattan due to such a long journey.
Shortly after, the City of Newark launched a federal lawsuit against the Blasio administration, claiming that the Human Resources Administration had placed homeless families in dangerous living conditions in New Jersey through the special one-off assistance program (SOTA). Mayor Bill de Blasio has dismissed the lawsuit as disregarding the “human reality” of homelessness.