Pushback on Homeless Shelters

Given so much push back on placement of homeless shelters, the latest being on Upper West Side and West Harlem, we thought some facts would be helpful.

There are about 60,000 individuals who do not have a permanent home in NYC. The majority of these are families who typically enter shelter when they can no longer afford to pay rent due to job loss or other hardship.

Times are tough. We encourage all districts to help take care of their own residents who fall into hard times. Unfortunately, “most homeless families are not sheltered in the communities they come from.” Currently, only about 50% of children are placed in shelters in areas where they have been going to school. In fact, there are 12 districts in NYC with no family shelters at all.

Regarding single homeless adults, “Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.” These adults should be placed in small settings fairly distributed in areas where the individual used to reside, and with adequate social services to support them. 

Times are tough. Let’s all help each other while keeping fair share and equity in mind. We need to strike a delicate balance for the sake of our beloved NYC.

See these 2 links for more info and our quotes: https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/
https://www.icphusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Shelter-DynamicsFinal07819.pdf

The graphic is plotted based on Shelter Score Card data: “https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/8f51c8fb-6910-48d3-ae9d-35ffadfed443/embed”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON OPIOID EPIDEMIC AND ACTIVISM AIMED TO PUSH BACK ON PLACEMENT OF HOMELESS SHELTERS

  • 2021 Jan: West Harlem pushes back on homeless shelter on 145th st. (Patch)
  • 2020 Dec: NYC Districts pushes back on housing affordable housing planned by Mayor – (nytimes.com)
  • 2020 Dec: NYC Upper West Side: The residents in Upper West Side Lucerne homeless shelter filed a law suit on decision to relocate them – (nydailynews.com)
  • 2020 Nov: NYC Downtown: Downtown residents filed a law suit against movement of homeless shelter to downtown hotel – (nydailynews.com)
  • [NEW] 2019 Dec: Description of the medical challenges faced by residents in homeless shelters in New York City – (The New York Medical Journal)
  • 2019 Nov: NYC Ozone Park: 500 residents pushed back on new homeless shelter. 1 man went on hunger strike! – (citylimits.org)
  • 2019 Sept: NYC Harlem Wards Island: Wards Island Homeless Shelter managed by Andrew Cuomo’s sister gets new 4 year renewal worth 45 million despite 22 code citation- (THE CITY)
  • 2018 Jul: NYC Midtown: Billionaires Row group sues city over homeless shelter plan – (Nydailynews.com, Fox News)
  • 2016-2019: NYC: In 12 years, NYC homeless population surged 40% from 2011. The City counted almost 4000 people sleeping on the street and there is a 50-60,000 homeless population. Mayor launched turn the tide campaign to set up 130 shelters in the city – (Daily Mail Online, nydailynews.com, Curbed NY)
  • 2012: NYC Harlem: Wards Island Homeless population of 1000 has one bus M35 and the only drop off point is… 125 street and Lexington. The City Limits claimed many of these men are ex convicts and sex offenders – (citylimits.org)

Disappointing New Data

We are sad to report that new FOIL data indicates that number of patients traveling into Harlem to obtain methadone treatment continues to rise over the last 2 years.

For your background, below is the density map of methadone facilities in NYC.

And below is the overall capacity of methadone dispensing approved by NY State OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Support)

Stop Mt. Sinai’s CARES program from moving at risk youth to a location rife with drug-trading activities. Stop this madness!

Despite tremendous push back from community members, Mount Sinai has announced it will relocate the 60 or so at-risk youth, ages 13-21, in its CARES program from their current Morningside Heights location to their new facility at 160 W 124th Street in Central Harlem as part of a “restructuring” effort. 

We appreciate such schools to help these vulnerable children, however, what is very concerning is that this new location, is a well-known drug nexus!!

As you see in our data map above, CARES’s current neighborhood has little drug-trading activity. The new location is rife with drug-trading activity — as indicated by the density of drug-related arrests — partly driven by its proximity to 3 methadone clinics as well as a safe-injection site (aka needle exchange site) maintained by Harlem United.

According to Mount Sinai, students in the CARES program are youths with “early run-ins with the police… and/or legal problems…” and “severe emotional problems and school truancy.” Common sense would dictate that these students needs to be placed as far away from drug dealers as possible. 

Who in their right mind would think placing these at-risk youths in this drug nexus is a good idea? 

Mount Sinai seems to be more concerned about about their bottom line than about the students’ welfare. To read more about our grievances with Mount Sinai, see here.

How can you help?

Tell Mount Sinai to STOP THE MOVE! These particularly vulnerable teenagers will encounter the open street drug dealing and usage on a daily basis.

For the sake of these children, tell Richard A. Friedman and James S. Tisch the co-chairmen of Mount Sinai’s Board of Trustee to STOP THE MOVE!!! Mr. Friedman is the Chairman of Merchant Banking at Goldman Sachs and Mr. Tisch is the CEO of Loews Corporation, which oversees the Loews Hotel chain. These large companies don’t like seeing negative press.

To help this cause, we recommend you to set up a twitter account and write something on the twitter accounts of Goldman Sachs and Loews Hotel. On their new posts, you can either leave a remark or quote tweet the post to your followers to raise awareness. Many of their millions of followers, including people from the media, will see your remarks.

Pain Medication: Cause/Effect

With the recent NY Times article on the depths of corruption at Perdue Pharma and their willingness to promote painkiller addiction for profit, I thought it would be interesting to show our visualization of the ‘legal’ drugs proscribed in Manhattan (the data does not break down any finer than this).

You can see that OxyCodone was the second most commonly administered drug, after methadone.

Cause. Effect.

The City vs. Upstate

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While the opioid crisis is often discussed as an urban phenomenon, over the last decade, upstate New York has been far more adversely impacted than New York City.

Mount Sinai = Methadone in Harlem and East Harlem

With new data from a FOIL request to OASAS, the size of Mount Sinai’s methadone programs relative to other Harlem and East Harlem providers is possible. On the screenshot below, you can see how the Mount Sinai programs on West 124th Street and East 125th Street dominate our community

To see the entire city (and note how unevenly distributed Opioid Treatment Programs are), see the full map, below.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/RNUZ2/1/

Exposure to Violent Crime

The map above shows the prevalence of certain reported violent felonies—homicides, robberies, and felony assaults—by neighborhood. The areas with the highest reported violent crime rates are in areas of the South Bronx, portions of Harlem, Norwood to Wakefield in the North Bronx, and portions of central and east Brooklyn, all of which have predominantly Black or Hispanic populations. Smaller areas that also have high rates of community violence are on the north shore of Staten Island, Coney Island, Queensbridge, Jamaica, and the Rockaways. Midtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn have elevated rates of NYPD complaints due to their high volume of daily visitors; it is therefore less likely that residents of these areas experience crime in the same way or to the same degree as residents of other, more residential neighborhoods that are predominantly communities of color, such as the Melrose and Mott Haven neighborhoods of the Bronx and Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn.

Given these highly unequal spatial patterns of violent crime, Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have the highest rates of exposure to violent felony crimes near their homes in communities like Harlem and East Harlem.

From: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/wwl-plan.pdf

Significant Increases in Admits to Harlem Opioid Treatment Programs: 2017–2020 See all NYC statistics

Comparing identical examples of OASAS FOIL data from 2017 and now 2020, we are able to see how admissions to Opioid Treatment Programs have increased or decreased in specific communities.

The map below shows increases in red and decreases in blue.

Click on the map and hover over any of the dots to learn more. Note that the size of the dot indicates a larger program.

Opioid Treatment Deserts 2020

The updated map shows the communities in New York that have no opioid treatment centers. Williamsburg, Astoria are examples


New data from the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) allowed us to map the inverse of what people typically map – a lacuna. In particular, we were interested in learning which Community Districts in New York are Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) deserts. The resulting map shows the communities in New York that have no OTPs in red. The consequence is that residents in these neighborhoods who are suffering from addiction to opioids have to travel to communities like Harlem and East Harlem (often daily), for treatment.

Explore the map here:

https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/8202e3cd-d7ca-4fc5-9c79-22d883c3b51d/embed

Opioid Treatment Locations and Admission Totals

Our latest Greater Harlem Coalition data, from a 2019/2020 FOIL request to OASAS, has yielded a map of the location of Opioid Treatment Programs in New York City and their admission totals:

Zoom into Harlem and East Harlem to see the local clusters licensed by OASAS that have oversaturated Harlem and East Harlem as well as the South Bronx:

Here is the full interactive map.