Greater Harlem Coalition members Claudia and Monica were interviewed on NY1 Noticias regarding the degradation of quality of life in East Harlem due to the oversaturation of methadone facilities that do not manage the street drug use and loitering of their patients before and after treatment.
A long-overdue article in The City highlights the mental deterioration of Bill Perkins.
For years now residents and political insiders have known that Perkins is a shell of his former self. The magazine City & State, for example, noted that Perkins was New York City’s least responsive and least active of all 51 Council members.
The incompetence of Perkins office was well known, but many refused to speak publicly regarding how his staff worked to continue the illusion that Perkins was able to work and serve. The City article, however, has spoken to a number of City Council colleagues who noted that Perkins’ health challenges are
In the article, Syderia Asberry-Chresfield noted that:
The tragedy for Harlem is we’ve essentially not had representation at City Council for 4 years now. Bill Perkins has, according to the article, been shuffled by his staff from Zoom to Zoom, not really knowing what’s going on.
“There’s no question he isn’t all there,” said another Council member.
Keith Lilly, Bill Perkins’ long-time aide, seems intent to prop Perkins up, despite the damage an apparently mentally disoriented Council Member has done these last 4 years, and the future damage he might do if elected.
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.
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)
@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.
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.
November 2019, the Uptowner quoted multiple GHC members critical of Mount Sinai’s plan to expand in Harlem on West 124 Street.
Community Leaders, Residents Say Proposed Clinic Overloads Harlem
Advocates and residents have grown frustrated with Mount Sinai’s plan to open an outpatient clinic in 2021, bringing approximately 2,400 clients with histories of addiction and mental illness to West 124th Street. Neighborhood groups and tenants have taken to the streets in protest.
“It’s not that Mount Sinai is trying to do horrible things,” says Shawn Hill, co-founder of The Greater Harlem Coalition, created last year to combat the clinic. “We just cannot bring any more vulnerable people into our neighborhood that are susceptible to the illegal drug trade.”
November 2019, Manhattan Times interviewed Barbara Askins, Greater Harlem Coalition member and President and CEO of the 125th Street BID (125th Street Business Improvement District), and Nilsa Orama, Chair of Community Board 11 (East Harlem), who both complained about the dense concentration of harm reduction facilities in a confined area on 125th Street and argued that community boards should have more say in where drug treatment centers get placed.
“Shawn Hill, Co-founder of the Greater Harlem Coalition (GHC), argued that 75 percent of patients in Harlem’s opioid programs are not Harlem residents. The advocacy group … seeks to have a moratorium on additional or expanded addiction and substance abuse programs or facilities in Harlem.“