Below are William Allen’s thoughts on oversaturation of addiction programs in Harlem and East Harlem:
The last two questions are pretty broad and require further explanations. As a child, my Harlem streets were sprayed with used syringes, glass and flatten soda or beer cans. My mother worried daily about my journey from home to school. She thought that one of the needles would find its way into my cloth sneakers. Today in Harlem, unfortunately, you can find large numbers of people in search of the next high and others like me, fighting for quality services to rid them of their ills that prevent them from a better life. All have become challenging in this Harlem century. The sights today causes progressive thinkers to often question their own humanity. With the incline of more educated and wealthier Harlem residents, new issues have emerged. The 2020 is reporting that the district population— blacks at 47.8%, whites at 24%, nonwhite Hispanics at 19% and Asian/Others at 9% (numbers should be confirmed). I firmly oppose the over saturation of programs and facilities that don’t serve Harlem residents. In addition, I don’t support programs that don’t have a component to measure community concerns. In Greater Harlem, we support humane treatment and services, but they must be done without negating local residents quality of life, near and around such facilities. As the Harlem voice in the NYC Council, I’ll insure that the local community boards will serve as a major conduit for civic education and engagement on all issues confronting our community. The GHC has done a tremendous job of educating Greater Harlem, as well as those that impact public policy and the management of critical services. All of the current research suggest that Safe Injection Programs save lives, save municipalities money, i.e., hospitalizations and emergency care. I would oppose placing any safe injection sites in the district, if it isn’t a part of a plan to equitably distribute such facilities around the city. Also, we must insure that our city expand its NYC Cares. New York State must push solidly for Single Payer Healthcare to ensure that New Yorkers with drug dependency disorders have increased access to care, therapy and low cost treatment. It would be great for our local institutions to be known as the best ones serving people from communities of long standing need. Every New Yorker should be served with dignity, but no community should be the dumping ground because its populated by the poor and the silent. While our nation accepts the poor, the tried and huddle masses yearning to be free, but often it does it without insuring the dignity of those needing help.