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)
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.
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.“
CBS News story on how the Oversaturation of drug clinics in Harlem attracts scores of illegal drug sellers
Last night the co-founder of The Greater Harlem Coalition, the President of MMPCIA, and other concerned residents from our community were featured on CBS News. The article explored how the oversaturation of substance abuse programs in Harlem and East Harlem has attracted scores of illegal drug sellers who prey on the men and women seeking addiction help.
The CBS reporter was shown photographs, and video evidence of how the OASAS licensed programs fail to monitor or supervise their clients before or after treatment, and turn a blind eye to the drug selling and using that is occurring steps from their programs.
Residents complained about how Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo have tolerated the decline in public safety in our community and failed to address it – in sharp contrast to the Mayoral response to complaints from the Upper West Side.
The powerful coverage features a number of our visualizations from the data that prove our claims.
When asked to respond to the issue of oversaturation and our deteriorating quality of life, the Mayor’s Office gave a non-response and avoided addressing the question:
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.
GHC Protest At Mt. Sinai Meeting With Political Leaders, Mentioned In “The City “ – 092719
By Rachel Holliday Smith
On West 124th Street, Mount Sinai Hospital has been planning for
more than a year to open a new health facility.
In its current form, the Mt. Sinai outpatient clinic, set for a
late-2021 opening, would include primary and specialty care as well as mental
health treatment for children, teens and adults.
On the block Mt. Sinai is eyeing, there are multiple methadone
clinics, a sliding-scale health center and at least two homeless shelters.
The Greater Harlem Coalition was founded last year to fight the
Mount Sinai facility and bring attention to the concentration of social and
health services in East and Central Harlem as a problem.
The protesters’ message was clear: the neighborhood is already
doing more than its fair share, and they shouldn’t have to shoulder more
a map of the density of mental health programs the
group compiled from state and city health data, Harlem is shaded dark gray.
Their analysis found Harlem has just 5% of New York City’s population but 15%
of its mental health programs.
Data from the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Services (OASAS) obtained by the coalition through a Freedom of Information Law
request shows that while 6.9% of people in New York City OASAS-certified
treatment programs for opioid addiction are Harlem residents, nearly a fifth
(19.1%) of opioid treatment programs are located there as well.
Shawn Hill, a co-founder of the Coalition told the crowd, “Every
time you feel overburdened, every time you feel that it’s too much — you are
absolutely correct. And we have the data to back that up,”
In Oct 2018, Wall Street Journal interviewed our founder Syderia as we pushed back on newly proposed drug treatment center in Harlem.
By Melanie Grayce West
The pretty community garden on West 123rd Street near Syderia Asberry-Chresfield’s home has attracted so many drug users since last August that the garden gates now have to remain locked most of the day.
In the 30 years she has owned a home in Central Harlem, Ms. Asberry-Chresfield’s car has been broken into twice—both times in the last year, she said. And at 9:30 a.m. on a recent weekday, she declined to walk to the western edge of her block because the drug dealers were already out.
“It’s crazy; people are afraid. And they should be,” she said.
So when details began trickling out about plans by Mount Sinai Health System to build a facility one block north on West 124th Street that would serve patients with substance-use disorders and mental illness, area residents reached their tipping point. Already this block between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue has homeless shelters,