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Patch: GHC’s Letter to Mayor De Blasio

(Harlemites, your voices have been heard! GHC’s letter to the Mayor led to some short term improvements on 125th Street. Here are a few updates since this post on October 2012: (1) Nov 10, Our letter prompted Mayor to visit 125th Street (2) Dec 18, Councilwomen Diana Ayala gave an update on changes made by Mayor (3) Dec 29, Patch reported on improvements made on 125th Street, but work remains to be done)

See original report on Patch on October here

Dear Mayor de Blasio: 

The Greater Harlem Coalition is a group of like-minded residences and business owners more than 6,000 members strong that are organized and politically active.  We are tired of the politics of old that have done nothing to improve our quality of life, business opportunities, and the overall positive growth of our community.    

We are writing to request your immediate response for improving public safety and mental health assistance, reducing homelessness and substance abuse, and increasing trash removal in Harlem.  

Drugs are being sold openly around Harlem to the homeless, methadone patients, and others.  You see streets awash with needles and other drug paraphernalia between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Lenox Avenue along side streets from 124th to 117th Streets; a year ago, this was not the case.  Because of the increased drug trafficking in our community, we have seen an increase in crime, such as robberies, stabbings, and shootings.   

We all have empathy for the homeless and much more needs to be done to help them.   However, some of the homeless are blocking sidewalks, threatening people that don’t give them money, and encroaching on the personal space of others during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the homeless need mental health assistance that is not being provided by the city.  We have been complaining to you, and other elected officials, for years about the need to address homelessness and mental illness in our community, and no elected official has done anything to resolve these problems on our behalf. 

Yet in a matter of months, your office not only addressed the issue of homelessness and mental illness on the Upper Westside, but you actually moved the homeless and the mentally ill from the Upper Westside to other parts of the city.  African-American and Latino communities have been fighting the oversaturation of methadone clinics, and housing of the homeless and mentally ill for decades, not months, and nothing has been done to help us. 

Trash has always been a problem in Harlem, but it’s now much worse. No one is cleaning the sidewalks and streets of Harlem beyond merchants, building owners, and homeowners; if they don’t clean sidewalks along their properties, the city issues them tickets.  Yet, the city does nothing to clean city managed space.  The city makes people move their cars several times a week, and some days no street sweeper even comes by.  But if you move your car a few minutes late, you are guaranteed a ticket. 

To curtail increases in crime, instances of homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and trash, we are requesting the following:·     

* Cross agency coordination with the 28th Precinct and all necessary city agencies; the Office of the District Attorney, the Department of Homeless   Services, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene·     

*  An increased police presence in identified high crime and open-air drug areas·     

*  A moratorium and reduction of methadone clinics in our community via legislation·     

*   An increase of police patrol cars and drug surveillance equipment for the 28th Precinct·     

*   Increased funding for neighborhood youth programs·     

*   A designated point person within your office to coordinate with city agencies to implement overlapping responses and who will work with us   continuously, not just once. We will be working with others across the city that have the same concerns, and messaging collective action to help not just Harlem, but other communities of color.  We hope you will work at reimagining how government works to solve long standing problems, because whatever you are doing now, is not working.  A government’s response to resolving problems should not be based on your zip code, but based on need.  We need your help, and we have yet to receive it. We, as a community, await your reply. Sincerely, 

118 Street Block Association
120th Street Block Association
128th Street Block Association
1775 Houses Tenants Association
97-98 Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors
A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance
A.K. Houses Tenants Association
Advocates 4 The Community
Columbus Distributors
Compass Realty
Dorrence Brooks Property Owners & Residents Association
Elaine Perry Associates
Ephesus SDA Church
Freeland Liqour
Friendly Hands Ministry
Friends of the Harriett Tubman Monument
Gastiaburo + Stella Real Estate
Ginjan Cafe
Graham Court RentersGreater Calvary Baptist Church
Halstead Manhattan
Hamilton Terrace Block Association
Harlem Lofts
Harlem Park to Park
Harlem Properties Inc.
Harlem Shake
Harlem Wine Gallery
Heart to Heart Community Outreach
Il Cafe Latte 1
Il Cafe Latte 2
Jacqueline Allmond Cuisine INC
Lenox to 5th 124th Street Block Association
LenoxFive 127th Street Block Association
Malcolm Pharmacy
Mirada Home Owners Association
Neighbors United of West 132nd Street Block Association
New York Council for Housing Development Fund Companies, Inc.
Paris Blues Jazz Club
Progressives Educating New Yorkers, Inc.
R. Kenyatta Punter and Associates
Sayers and Doers
Silicon Harlem
SottoCasa Pizzeria
Sugar Hill Concerned Neighbors Group
The 100-168 West 121st Street Resident Block Association
The Harlem Neighborhood Block Association
The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association
The new 123rd Street Block Association (Lenox – ACP)
The United New Church of Christ
The West 130th Street Homeowners Association
The West 132nd Street Block Association
Union Settlement House
Uptown Townhouse
Valeries Signature Salon
West 119th Block Association
West 121st Street Block Association
West 126th Street Block Association
West 135th Street Block Association
West 136th Street Block Association
Wynn Optics   

CC:       Andrew Cuomo, Governor, New York            Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner            Edward Grayson, Acting Commissioner            Joslyn Carter, Administrator            Dr. Dave Chokski, Health Commissioner            Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President            Brian Benjamin, NYS Senator            Robert Rodriguez, NY Assembly member            Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President            Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller            Shaun Donovan, Mayoral Candidate            Alvin Bragg, NYC DA Candidate            Tali Farhadian Weinstein, NYC DA CandidateInspector Brown, 28th Precinct            Shatic Mitchell, CB10 District Manager            Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, NY TimesRobert York, Editor, NY Daily News            Michelle Gotthel, Editor, NY Post            Melanie West, Jouranalist, WSJ            Nick Garber, Reporter, Patch

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