Protest at Gracie Mansion

We had a fantastic turnout at Da Homeless Hero’s amazing rally and march at Gracie Mansion on Saturday, July 10th.  

Our message that congregant shelters, poorly run shelters, and inadequate supportive housing are the root causes of many issues in both Harlem and New York City, was forcefully delivered by Madlyn.  Additionally, her call to dismantle the horrific and horrifically expensive congregate shelter complex (and, in its place, to provide supportive housing instead), was clear and powerful.

In addition to thanking Madlyn for her powerful words, we want to acknowledge the incredible work and vision of Shams to pull this all together.  The rainbow of passionate protesters, the news media, and the numerous NYC political leaders, candidates, and future leaders who attended, all highlight his incredible organizing skills and the justness of his advocacy.

Lastly, we want to spotlight Eva who has worked tirelessly on supporting Shams, organizing GHC around these issues, and being a clarion voice for housing justice.  Eva has done an amazing job and her work for both GHC and CB11 is incredibly awe-inspiring.

So, thank you Madlyn, Shams, and Eva, and thank you to everyone else who came out, brought signs, chanted, marched, and is helping to spread the word. 

Together we marched and are marching for a better Harlem, a better New York, and justice for all.

GHC Meeting on Wednesday, June 9th. 7:00 PM

The Greater Harlem Coalition will have an election season general meeting on Wednesday, June 9th, at 7:00 PM.

Please register in advance for this meeting:
https://fordham.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtceGgrz0iEtQ33Y651agCFqaH9_-Wu0hO

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We will detail our outreach to political candidates, letter writing to city and state officials, our work with elected officials, and our social media campaigns – all to improve the quality of life in Harlem and East Harlem.

We look forward to talking about our plans for 2022, and getting your feedback on what our post-June 22 focus should be.

2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidates’ Forum – Video


To listen to the Greater Harlem Coalition’s 2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum, click the following link to the audio recording:

2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum Video Recording

2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum – Audio

To listen to the Greater Harlem Coalition’s 2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum, click the following link to the audio recording:

2021 Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum Audio Recording

Manhattan Borough President Candidate’s Forum – Wednesday, April 7th. 7:00 PM

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition on Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 PM to hear from, and ask questions of, the 6 candidates running for the role of Manhattan Borough President.

https://fordham.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7Mv7N2a1SA-S2fPY_KvokA

Keith Taylor – City Council District 9 Candidate

The Greater Harlem Coalition – https://greaterharlem.nyc/ – had a great meeting about medical redlining and the oversaturation of opioid treatment programs in Harlem and East Harlem with Dr. Keith Taylor, a candidate for City Council District 9.

A small group of GHC members met with the candidate at Chaiwali. At the restaurant, Keith spoke at length about the rich background and experience he would bring to the district and his plans to address the unfair burden that the oversaturation of methadone programs places on the residents and businesses of Harlem and East Harlem.

For more on Dr. Keith Taylor’s campaign, see:

https://www.taylormadeforharlem.com/

Walk+Talk with Mark Levine

The Greater Harlem Coalition had a great meeting with Mark Levine who is currently running for Manhattan Borough President.

We met and talked at Chaiwali and then walked to tour the Harlem and East Harlem blocks so profoundly impacted by Medical Redlining – West 124th Street, and East 125th Street.

We looked at the dense concentration of methadone programs and the very visible concentration of drug dealers surrounding those facilities.

Mark Levine will join other candidates for Manhattan Borough President in our April 7th forum. See:


Apr 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://fordham.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdu-qrzguGdGyRCtH9to49JRVuMWeF1nL

Manhattan DA Candidate’s Forum Video

February 4th, 2021’s Manhattan DA Candidate Forum: Harlem’s Fair Share.

Community Board 11 – Moratorium Vote Postponed

Community Board 11 has postponed their discussion/vote on a proposed moratorium on new or expanded addiction programs in East Harlem. This issue will not come before the board tomorrow evening, at their January 26th Full Board meeting.

Angel Mescain from CB11 writes:

This item is not on the agenda for our FB meeting tomorrow.
The matter has been referred back to the committee by the board chair.
If you could update your subscribers that would be helpful to avoid confusion.

Looking Back at Our Jan 14 2021 Town Hall

In Jan 14 2021, over 200 attendees turned out on Zoom to listen to updates on crucial quality of life concerns in Harlem, as well as Greater Harlem Coalition’s accomplishments in 2020, and our strategy for 2021. Thank you all of you for showing up in such powerful numbers.

Not surprisingly, emotions in the meeting ran high as  we listened to Mount Sinai obfuscate and filibuster, especially around the issue of their patients loitering after receiving treatment at Mount Sinai’s 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street methadone facilities. As a reminder, 40% of Harlem’s methadone dispensing capabilities come from Mount Sinai|Beth Israel.

With over 200 questions for Mount Sinai in the chat, the audience showed Mount Sinai that Harlem and East Harlem are watching, and that we are concerned about the community impact of their new Mount Sinai Ambulatory Care Center at 158 W 124th Street, which notably includes the  CARES program.  GHC members are also demanding  that Mount Sinai address and reduce the unacceptable impact that the methadone programs on 125th Street have on residents, our children, and local businesses.

Updates on the 158 West 124th Street Facility and CARES program from Mount Sinai

In spite of Mount Sinai’s less than forthright engagement with the community, It’s important to note that that we learned of one significant win:

Mount Sinai changed their minds about putting addiction services in their new 124th Street building. 

While this does not square with their insistence that CARES (a program for high school students with behavioral health and substance abuse issues) will also be located in this new facility, we are celebrating Mount Sinai’s reversal after two and a half years of protesting and organizing.  Although, this is not the complete abandonment we want, it is a victory to be celebrated nonetheless!

Although Mount Sanai has not completely abandoned the new 124th Street facility, as we wish them to, this is a victory to be celebrated, nonetheless!

Updates on Existing Facilities on 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street

As for the issue of loitering in the 2 large existing facilities, Mount Sinai informed us that they have contracted a new , more reputable security firm and will staff their new building with retired NYPD sergeants.  Mount Sinai will also be installing additional security measures  inside the buildings, such as metal detectors and security cameras. 

To our surprise, Mount Sinai pointedly noted that they are only responsible for security inside their building. We wonder: if Mount Sinai believes that such intensive security measures are required to protect their own personnel from their patients, where does this leave the local businesses and residents who live and work near these facilities? 

If Mount Sinai believes they are not responsible for mitigating their negative impact in the vicinity, who is protecting the local population??? 

Not government agencies, as OASAS has already stated that this is not their problem. Not the police, as they are overstretched and believe OASAS to be the root cause of the problem. This game of hot potato being played with our safety is extremely disturbing to say the least. We urge Governor Cuomo to address this issue.

Update on 160 W 124 Street Facility CARES Program for At-risk Youth

We are highly disappointed to hear that Mount Sinai insists on moving CARES from its Morningside Heights location at 1111 Amsterdam Avenue to 160 W 124th Street. CARES — Comprehensive Adolescent Rehabilitation and Education Services is Mount Sinai/St. Luke’s program for high school students ages 13 through 21 with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.  

CARES program current location

To be clear, Mount Sinai is moving at-risk youth to one of Manhattan’s most blatant open-air illegal drug marketplaces and half a block from one of NYC’s largest methadone treatment clinics. How is this a good idea???

Would Mount Sinai board members send their children to school in this location?  It is hard to see any pedagogical motive for this move.  Rather the relocation  appears to be soley for the benefit of the hospital’s profit maximization.

We will Not Stop Here

Many of you participated in the very active chat with more than 200 questions and comments for Mount Sinai.  A copy of this chat will be sent to the Mount Sinai participants to give them the opportunity to respond.

If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out to Brad Beckstrom the public relations person who led the Mount Sinai presentation and let us know what response you get (or don’t) so we can encourage follow-up and accountability: brad.beckstrom@mssm.edu. For questions related to the CARES program, contact the program director: shilpa.taufique@mountsinai.org 

To see some sample of the > 200 questions and comments in the chat:

New Facility on 158 West 124 Street

  • Why was this location chosen?
  • Do you have a community advisory board/committee?
  • I am curious to hear how this facility was initially approved. Was it a city decision? What is Mt Sinai’s strategy for expansion in the community, and has it already been approved? Thank you.
  • What is the security plans for outside the building and surrounding areas?
  • Can you please speak to the ways in which you plan to make the facility culturally acceptable to this key community, while maintaining your security personnel on site
  • What assurance is there that medication assisted treatment (MAT) patients will not eventually be supported at this location?
  • What percentage of your patients are from areas outside of Harlem?
  • Can you tell us the breakdown as far as what percentage of patients will be HIV vs behavioral health care?
  • You say there will be no drug treatment, service for other concerns; the background history of these participants is DRUG USE; thereby some form of drug treatment will be carried out.

CARES program:

  • Are you not concerned that you are bringing vulnerable people who may have addiction issues into an already over-saturated drug clinic area, with so much illegal drug dealing?
  • St. Lukes/Columbia Univ area seems to get a different level of attention than Central Harlem

Existing Facilities on 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street

Quality of life

  • Do any of you panelists live on a street with three drug treatment centers?
  • If you are such a good neighbor, why are you over saturating our community when you could locate these substance clinics in upper east side?
  • The residents here are sick and tired of the dope addicts and drug dealers your enterprises have brought to our neighborhood. 123rd 124th streets on MXB.  We had to create a block association because of the influence of your dope clinics. I personally want you out of here but I am willing to listen….every single day they shooting a heroin on my block!! this doesn’t help my community
  • Dope addicts and drug dealers have overrun our neighborhood. I have been calling the police, taking pictures, putting my family’s lives in danger, walking through throngs of dope addicts for over two years mostly, but this has been going on for over a decade.

Security

  • I agree that [under the new plan,] you seem to have great security in your facilities, but the you’re causing serious problems for the rest of the neighborhood since your jurisdiction is only your property line.
  • Sounds like you have great security in your facilities, but the you’re causing serious problems for us. Because your facilities attract all these folks that become an easy target for drug dealers and since they cannot linger around your facility they end up in front of our cafe and wreck havoc. I spend all day every single day trying to move high out of their minds people, spitting, pissing, and throwing garbage all over the place. What do you say or do about that?
  • What will be the ratio of security staff to patients and how will the clinic prevent the clients from congregating in large groups on the block
  • How many blocks around your facility will your security firm cover? If you cannot cover more than your perimeter, then you must reduce methadone capacity in Harlem