GHC on NY1 Noticias

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.

For the full video, see:

https://www.ny1noticias.com/nyc/noticias/noticias/2021/04/13/vecinos-de-east-harlem-se-quejan-del-alto-numero-de-clinicas-para-tratar-adicciones

Malcolm X and Narcotic Gangsters

“Save our boys and girls” – Malcolm X rallies in front of the Hotel Theresa against “Narcotic Gangsters” in 1958.

Is Bill Perkins Fit For Office?

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

“the worst kept secret in the New York City Council,” said one Council member who serves with him on a committee.

In the article, Syderia Asberry-Chresfield noted that:

“Sometimes he recognizes me. Sometimes he does not,” she said. “I’ve known him for decades now.”

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.

Three Council members who spoke with THE CITY on condition of anonymity said Perkins would often wander into closed-door meetings, or show up to the wrong committee hearing, or at the wrong time.

“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.

Keith Lilly is quoted as saying:

“I’ve got him. I’m carrying him. He’s on the petition, so I don’t have no problem with him at all. Most people don’t,” he said before quickly ending the call.

Residents push back against construction of methadone clinic

The Columbia Spectator reports on another methadone program being placed in Harlem and quotes from Shawn Hill, one of GHC’s co-founders.

“The opioid addiction is a national crisis. It transcends class; it transcends race; it transcends gender; it transcends geography; and yet time and time again, the location of those facilities is not transcending those factors. The location is always in low-income communities of color,”

The article refers to a new, Argus run methadone program, licensed by OASAS, and located on West 145th Street.

https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2021/02/23/residents-push-back-against-construction-of-methadone-clinic-claim-harlem-is-oversaturated-with-clinics/

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)

NY Govt Wants to Hear Your Views on Pending Merger of Dept of Addiction Services and Dept of Mental Health

@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
#greaterharlem #redliningharlem
#inequity
#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

Or, you can just write to @NYSOASAS and @NYGovCuomo on twitter.

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:

Governor Cuomo’s announcement of merger of DOMH and OASAS. Click on the image to learn more

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.

Patch: Results so far of Mayor’s Recent Visit to 125th Street

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)

Harlem neighbors,

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.

  1. 125th street will be power washed everyday unless temperature drops below freezing point;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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.

How can you make your noise heard?

  • Forward this post to your network
  • Like GHC on Facebook and twitter to get updates from us
  • Attend community board meetings
  • Become a community board member by submitting an application before Feb 1st here

Read some of the letters GHC and our members have sent to elected officials:

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.

Uptowner: GHC’s case against Mount Sinai Expansion in Harlem

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

Image for post

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.”

Continue reading the post here

Manhattan Times: Oversaturation in Harlem

Barbara Askins, 125th St. BID

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.

See the full article here.