Happy Dr. King Day! GHC is pleased to report that Mt Sinai will not include a methadone clinic in the new 158 W 124th Street facility. It is a SIGNIFICANT WIN for us. However, #Harlem remains oversaturated and we won’t stop fighting for Harlem!
Happy Dr King Day!
Last Thursday, Jan 14th 2021, the Coalition and our allies, more than 200 of us, turned out on Zoom to listen to Mount Sinai obfuscate and filibuster especially, around the issue of their patients loitering after receiving treatment. 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: they changed their minds about putting addiction services in their new 158 W 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!
We will not stop here.
Next, we will take our momentum on to the Manhattan District Attorney Candidate Forum (DA Forum) on Thursday, February 4th , 7 PM. Read a more detailed recap of the discussion in the Town Hall here.
The theme of the forum is Harlem’s Fair Share. Click on the flyer below to register and get more info.
The theme of the forum is Harlem’s Fair Share. Here’s your chance to join a discussion of how the DA’s office, with so much legal power, can correct the entrenched inequities that residents and businesses in Harlem experience in contrast to other districts in New York City. Candidates will discuss inequities in terms of health outcome, education outcome, public safety, and the oversaturation of drug treatment facilities and adult homeless shelters in Harlem. #inequity #healthinequity #educationinequity #oversaturation
How does the Manhattan DA affect Harlem?
8 candidates are vying to replace Cy Vance as Manhattan’s DA. To give you some context, the DA’s office prosecutes corrupt politicians, major drug dealers, illegal distributors of pain killers, and play a key role in implementing supervised injection sites. Traditionally, DAs in Queens and Staten Island have adamantly rejected supervised injection sites (see WNYC report here and Gothamist report here).
@NYOASAS and @NYSOHM are on a listening tour. Pls send your views to @NYGovCuomo! This is the chance to help build a more effective @NYOASAS and stop the issue of oversaturation
There is an imminent plan at NY State to merge OASAS (Department of Addiction Services and Supports) and DOMH (Department of Mental Health). To this end, the departments are accepting public statements to understand best ways forward.
Let’s take advantage of this unique opportunity to help the government create a more effective Addiction Services for New York State. Submit a statement here
Tell them OASAS must do a better job in (1) preventing a neighborhood from being oversaturated with drug treatment facilities and (2) monitoring the impact of drug treatment centers on the nearby areas.
See more detail of the announcements below:
Your statements don’t have to be lengthy or exhaustive. A simple, heartfelt request from you is sufficient. As we always say, they can’t read our minds. We need to tell them what Harlem wants them to do.
Thanks to concerns you have passionately made to our Mayor, elected officials have taken some actions to mitigate the unacceptable quality of life issues on 125th street and its vicinity.
(Update since this post below. Patch reported on Dec 29 that East Harlem 125th Street conditions have improved, but work remains)
Thanks to concerns you have passionately made to our Mayor, elected officials have taken some actions to mitigate the unacceptable quality of life issues on 125th Street and vicinity.
At the Community Board 11 meeting 3 days ago, NYC Council Member Diana Ayala’s aide updated us on the outcome of the Mayor’s 125th Street visit, as reported by Patch on Nov 10 this year.
125th street will be power washed everyday unless temperature drops below freezing point;
Increased density of police officers plus homeless services agents patrolling the 125th Street area. Subsequently, a few minor arrests were made related to sale of drugs such as K2;
Requested lighting on the sidewalks to improve safety and discourage loitering around the former Pathmark site under construction on 125th between Third Ave. and Lexington;
NYC Council member Diana Ayala created a working group to meet with relevant agencies to tackle this problem on an on-going basis. This group first met on Dec 15. OASAS (Office of Addiction Support and Services) graced us with an appearance at the meeting at the requests by Senator Brian Benjamin and Assembly member Robert Rodriguez. Sadly, OASAS’ mere presence was considered a victory of sort due to its years of refusal to engage with Harlem officials and the GHC.
In the same meeting, Community Board 11 Vice Chair Xavier Santiago announced that at the next full board meeting on Jan. 26, CB11 intends to review and approve a resolution to formally request government agencies to reduce the number of harm reduction services in East Harlem. Please be sure to join us on Jan 26 at 8pm by registering here.
Your voices have made a significant impact in drawing officials’ attention and led to some tactical actions. Keep up the “good noise” to bring attention to the entrenched issue in Harlem and to call for a sustainable long term plan.
Event on 3rd Dec 2020 where author of award-winning book “Redlined” gives a seminar
The Greater Harlem Coalition uses the term ‘redlining’ in context of how Harlem and East Harlem became the communities that they are today.
On Dec. 3rd, at 7:00 PM, The Washington and Chicago Map Societies will host Linda Gartz in a Zoom discussion: “How Federal Government Redlining Maps Segregated America.”
She will discuss her award-winning book, “Redlined,” and her discovery of the redlining maps used by the federal government to exclude African-Americans from the middle-class dream of home ownership. Inspired by a trove of long-hidden family letters, diaries, photos, spanning the 20th Century, “Redlined” interweaves a riveting family story with the history of redlining. Linda will display digitized versions of original redlining maps, share photos, read short excerpts from “Redlined,” and speak about the lasting impact of redlining maps that segregated America.
GHC held Manhattan DA Candidates Forum with focus on Harlem’s Fair Share of harm reduction services
Mark your calendars!
On Thursday, February 4th, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, all 9 candidates for the position of Manhattan DA will appear in The Greater Harlem Coalition’s first Manhattan DA Candidates Forum: Harlem’s Fair Share.
You likely have heard how some residents of the Upper West Side raised a significant amount of money to fund a legal campaign to force homeless New Yorkers out of the Lucerne Hotel which the DHS had contracted to house homeless New Yorkers so they wouldn’t be at risk of COVID in congregant shelters
Today members of HNBA and The Greater Harlem Coalition attended a protest and press conference to note that our community – East Harlem and Harlem – has had more than its fair share of shelters for decades, and that all communities in New York need to take their fair share of shelter residents in this pandemic until permanent residences can be built/found.
As the 2017 NY City Council Report on Fair Share noted:
Residential Beds in East Harlem
Manhattan Community District 11, with 52 beds per 1,000 residents, or 4% of all residential facility beds in the city, embodies the legacy of decades of poor planning by and coordination between City and State governments and the failures of Fair Share. A low-income community of color, it is third in the city’s beds-to-population ration.
Manhattan CD11, composed primarily of East Harlem and Wards/Randall’s Island, is home to 1,082 chemical dependency treatment beds, 1,312 mental health treatment beds, and 2,691 shelter and transitional housing beds. The community hosts 5% of all Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter beds, 19% of all State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)-licensed beds, and 11% of all State Office of Mental Health (OMH)-licensed beds in the city.
Distributional equity does not only mean equity between community districts, though that is a reasonable unit of analysis, but also equity within community districts – as the Fair Share Criteria recognize in their directive to specifically consider facilities within one half-mile of a proposed facility as well as the total number of facilities within the community district. Yet Manhattan 11 fails this test of equity too, with one-third of the DHS, OASAS, and OMH beds in the district located between 116th St. and 126th St. between the East River and Park Avenue. If facilities were perfectly evenly distributed between the City’s 59 community districts, each district would host 1.7% of each facility type.
In May, 2020, we presented in CB11 (East Harlem). See an excerpt of CB11 meeting minutes, and full minutes here
Shawn Hill – Harlem Neighborhood Block Association (10 minutes) i. Concentration/ Saturation of treatment facilities in East Harlem. Shawn Hill gave a presentation on the medical redlining occurring within northern Manhattan and in East Harlem. Please see attached report. His data driven report left many committee members with outstanding policy questions for OASAS. Several members were left perplexed as to why so many methadone and “counseling” centers are concentrated in East Harlem when many centers service people from outside the community. The committee discussed how landlords often will take a guaranteed rent over community concerns. Further questions were raised with the ratios of those receiving services in a community they work in versus a community they live in. Mr. Hill expressed that those data points are not available but based on the available data, chances are that people are receiving services closer to where they work than where they live. Committee members were dismayed to see the disparity of distribution. A significant area of interest was the 125th Street corridor and the overall impact to businesses and surrounding streets and their residents.
c. Lee Weiss – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elev8 Wellness Center of New York i. New outpatient counseling center in the Lee Building on 125th Street Mr. Weiss gave a presentation for a new center to be located in East Harlem. With services provided in central Harlem and other areas of northern Manhattan, the Bronx and elsewhere, they desired to expand this counseling center believing it would be of service to East Harlem. Several committee members expressed their concerns over yet another center coming to our community. Many of the questions revolved around saturation and “the need” for expansion. Mr. Weiss finally expressed that if the community does not desire Elev8 to expand in this district, he would respect that request and withdraw pursuing a letter. UPDATE: Subsequent to our meeting, Mr. Weiss has withdrawn his request.