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.

Looking Back at Our Jan 14 2021 Town Hall

In Jan 14 2021, over 200 attendees turned out on Zoom to listen to updates on crucial quality of life concerns in Harlem, as well as Greater Harlem Coalition’s accomplishments in 2020, and our strategy for 2021. Thank you all of you for showing up in such powerful numbers.

Not surprisingly, emotions in the meeting ran high as  we listened to Mount Sinai obfuscate and filibuster, especially around the issue of their patients loitering after receiving treatment at Mount Sinai’s 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street methadone facilities. As a reminder, 40% of Harlem’s methadone dispensing capabilities come from Mount Sinai|Beth Israel.

With over 200 questions for Mount Sinai in the chat, the audience showed Mount Sinai that Harlem and East Harlem are watching, and that we are concerned about the community impact of their new Mount Sinai Ambulatory Care Center at 158 W 124th Street, which notably includes the  CARES program.  GHC members are also demanding  that Mount Sinai address and reduce the unacceptable impact that the methadone programs on 125th Street have on residents, our children, and local businesses.

Updates on the 158 West 124th Street Facility and CARES program from Mount Sinai

In spite of Mount Sinai’s less than forthright engagement with the community, It’s important to note that that we learned of one significant win:

Mount Sinai changed their minds about putting addiction services in their new 124th Street building. 

While this does not square with their insistence that CARES (a program for high school students with behavioral health and substance abuse issues) will also be located in this new facility, we are celebrating Mount Sinai’s reversal after two and a half years of protesting and organizing.  Although, this is not the complete abandonment we want, it is a victory to be celebrated nonetheless!

Although Mount Sanai has not completely abandoned the new 124th Street facility, as we wish them to, this is a victory to be celebrated, nonetheless!

Updates on Existing Facilities on 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street

As for the issue of loitering in the 2 large existing facilities, Mount Sinai informed us that they have contracted a new , more reputable security firm and will staff their new building with retired NYPD sergeants.  Mount Sinai will also be installing additional security measures  inside the buildings, such as metal detectors and security cameras. 

To our surprise, Mount Sinai pointedly noted that they are only responsible for security inside their building. We wonder: if Mount Sinai believes that such intensive security measures are required to protect their own personnel from their patients, where does this leave the local businesses and residents who live and work near these facilities? 

If Mount Sinai believes they are not responsible for mitigating their negative impact in the vicinity, who is protecting the local population??? 

Not government agencies, as OASAS has already stated that this is not their problem. Not the police, as they are overstretched and believe OASAS to be the root cause of the problem. This game of hot potato being played with our safety is extremely disturbing to say the least. We urge Governor Cuomo to address this issue.

Update on 160 W 124 Street Facility CARES Program for At-risk Youth

We are highly disappointed to hear that Mount Sinai insists on moving CARES from its Morningside Heights location at 1111 Amsterdam Avenue to 160 W 124th Street. CARES — Comprehensive Adolescent Rehabilitation and Education Services is Mount Sinai/St. Luke’s program for high school students ages 13 through 21 with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.  

CARES program current location

To be clear, Mount Sinai is moving at-risk youth to one of Manhattan’s most blatant open-air illegal drug marketplaces and half a block from one of NYC’s largest methadone treatment clinics. How is this a good idea???

Would Mount Sinai board members send their children to school in this location?  It is hard to see any pedagogical motive for this move.  Rather the relocation  appears to be soley for the benefit of the hospital’s profit maximization.

We will Not Stop Here

Many of you participated in the very active chat with more than 200 questions and comments for Mount Sinai.  A copy of this chat will be sent to the Mount Sinai participants to give them the opportunity to respond.

If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out to Brad Beckstrom the public relations person who led the Mount Sinai presentation and let us know what response you get (or don’t) so we can encourage follow-up and accountability: brad.beckstrom@mssm.edu. For questions related to the CARES program, contact the program director: shilpa.taufique@mountsinai.org 

To see some sample of the > 200 questions and comments in the chat:

New Facility on 158 West 124 Street

  • Why was this location chosen?
  • Do you have a community advisory board/committee?
  • I am curious to hear how this facility was initially approved. Was it a city decision? What is Mt Sinai’s strategy for expansion in the community, and has it already been approved? Thank you.
  • What is the security plans for outside the building and surrounding areas?
  • Can you please speak to the ways in which you plan to make the facility culturally acceptable to this key community, while maintaining your security personnel on site
  • What assurance is there that medication assisted treatment (MAT) patients will not eventually be supported at this location?
  • What percentage of your patients are from areas outside of Harlem?
  • Can you tell us the breakdown as far as what percentage of patients will be HIV vs behavioral health care?
  • You say there will be no drug treatment, service for other concerns; the background history of these participants is DRUG USE; thereby some form of drug treatment will be carried out.

CARES program:

  • Are you not concerned that you are bringing vulnerable people who may have addiction issues into an already over-saturated drug clinic area, with so much illegal drug dealing?
  • St. Lukes/Columbia Univ area seems to get a different level of attention than Central Harlem

Existing Facilities on 132 W 125 Street and 103 E 125 Street

Quality of life

  • Do any of you panelists live on a street with three drug treatment centers?
  • If you are such a good neighbor, why are you over saturating our community when you could locate these substance clinics in upper east side?
  • The residents here are sick and tired of the dope addicts and drug dealers your enterprises have brought to our neighborhood. 123rd 124th streets on MXB.  We had to create a block association because of the influence of your dope clinics. I personally want you out of here but I am willing to listen….every single day they shooting a heroin on my block!! this doesn’t help my community
  • Dope addicts and drug dealers have overrun our neighborhood. I have been calling the police, taking pictures, putting my family’s lives in danger, walking through throngs of dope addicts for over two years mostly, but this has been going on for over a decade.

Security

  • I agree that [under the new plan,] you seem to have great security in your facilities, but the you’re causing serious problems for the rest of the neighborhood since your jurisdiction is only your property line.
  • Sounds like you have great security in your facilities, but the you’re causing serious problems for us. Because your facilities attract all these folks that become an easy target for drug dealers and since they cannot linger around your facility they end up in front of our cafe and wreck havoc. I spend all day every single day trying to move high out of their minds people, spitting, pissing, and throwing garbage all over the place. What do you say or do about that?
  • What will be the ratio of security staff to patients and how will the clinic prevent the clients from congregating in large groups on the block
  • How many blocks around your facility will your security firm cover? If you cannot cover more than your perimeter, then you must reduce methadone capacity in Harlem

Update on the New 158 W 124th St Mt Sinai Facility

Happy Dr. King Day! GHC is pleased to report that Mt Sinai will not include a methadone clinic in the new 158 W 124th Street facility. It is a SIGNIFICANT WIN for us. However, #Harlem remains oversaturated and we won’t stop fighting for Harlem!

Happy Dr King Day!

Last Thursday, Jan 14th 2021, the Coalition and our allies, more than 200 of us, turned out on Zoom to listen to Mount Sinai obfuscate and filibuster especially, around the issue of their patients loitering after receiving treatment. In spite of Mount Sinai’s less than forthright engagement with the community,

it’s important to note that that we learned of one significant win: they changed their minds about putting addiction services in their new 158 W 124th Street building. 

While this does not square with their insistence that CARES (a program for high school students with behavioral health and substance abuse issues) will also be located in this new facility, we are celebrating Mount Sinai’s reversal after two and a half years of protesting and organizing.  Although, this is not the complete abandonment we want, it is a victory to be celebrated nonetheless!

Read a more detailed recap of the discussion in the Town Hall here and a recording of the meeting here.

We will not stop here.

Next, we will take our momentum on to the Manhattan District Attorney Candidate Forum (DA Forum) on Thursday, February 4th , 7 PM.

Join our next event, the Manhattan DA Forum on February 4th

The theme of the forum is Harlem’s Fair Share. Click on the flyer above to register and get more info.

We will end this with a quote from MLK:

(Jan 14) Greater Harlem Coalition 2021 Townhall

Speaker will include our three founders: Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, Carolyn Brown, Shawn Hill. Guest speaker is Mount Sinai

14 Jan 2021 ( 7-830 pm)

Register to join the meeting here

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

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/

The City: Complaints from Harlem of Mount Sinai’s planned clinic

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 services.

On 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,”

For full article clink here:

https://thecity.nyc/2019/09/harlem-overburdened-with-clinics-neighbors-complain.html

Protest against Mt. Sinai @ MBP Gale Brewer’s Harlem office

Come out and protest the over saturation of addiction services in greater Harlem!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
10:30am – 11:00am
Gale Brewer’s Office
Manhattan Borough President
431 West 125th Street

A reminder that we need you to join us at The Greater Harlem Coalition’s protest from 10:30-11:00 in front of Gale Brewer’s office at 431 West 125th Street, on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019.

At 11:00 the Borough President will host a meeting with local politicians, their staff, representatives from our Coalition, representatives from MMPCIA, and representatives from Mount Sinai.  We need you to join the 10:30 protest in front of the meeting location so all attendees have to pass by the community who will be most affected by Mount Sinai’s decision.

Please make every effort to attend.  Spread the word.  Our community is already oversaturated, and bringing in an additional 2,400 more mental health and substance abuse clients into the heart of Harlem will be devastating to the community. 

Protest Against Mount Sinai’s expansion of Substance Abuse Clinics in Harlem

Tuesday, May 28th at 5:30 PM, at 1470 Madison Avenue, Room 5-101

Next Tuesday, Mount Sinai will host a Community Advisory Board Meeting where they will discuss the proposed move of 2,500 mental health and substance abuse clients from Morningside Heights to West 124th Street.  

This meeting is about your block, your subway station, your streets, and your community. 

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 28th at 5:30 PM, at 1470 Madison Avenue, Room 5-101. We need you to encourage your neighbors to join, to bring your children, and to spread the word on your block by posting the attached flyer and emailing your friends living and working in Harlem. Our goal to have 1,000 members of the community there to show Mount Sinai exactly how Harlem feels about their proposal. 

Please wear a GREEN shirt if you can, which will identify you as part of the Greater Harlem Coalition. Bring/Draw/Print/Create a poster, a sign, a banner or have your kids do it! 

SCHEDULE: 

5:00 – 5:25 PM – Meet at 1470 Madison Avenue (between 101st and 102nd Streets) to march in front of the entrance of the hospital 

5:30 PM – Attend and speak out at the Community Advisory Board Meeting in Room 5-101, 1470 Madison Avenue 

We need your voice to demand that Mount Sinai commit to reducing their contribution to the over saturation of Harlem.

Concentration of Substance Abuse Programs in Harlem, 2019

Since Robert Rodriguez’s election to New York State Assembly, the number of substance abuse programs in his district #68 has exploded to become larger than any other district in New York City.

Based on our 2019 data request via FOIL (Freedom of Information Law), we are able to display a map of substance abuse programs by NY State Assembly districts. The data shows that since Robert Rodriguez’s election, the number of substance abuse programs in his district has exploded to become larger than any other district in New York City.  [note the darkest district on this map]

As you know, New York State Assembly Districts have equal population counts, and thus Robert Rodriguez’s District 68 is shockingly oversaturated with 44 such programs.  By comparison, 46 other districts have less than 10 substance abuse programs, and 5 districts have none.

Compounding this oversaturation of Robert Rodriguez’s district is the fact that the second highest count of substance abuse programs is located in NY State Assembly District 70 – immediately adjacent.

Consistent with this data, in our earlier post, you can see that 76% of the patients getting drug treatment in Harlem’s substance abuse clinics do not reside in Harlem.

76% of those treated in Harlem are not from Harlem
In our earlier post, you can see that 76% of the patients coming into Harlem for drug abuse treatment do not reside in Harlem (click here to read more). With a different perspective, we can look at the density of methadone clinics by 5 borough.
Oversaturation of Manhattan relative to other borough

Hover over map to reveal Assembly Districts and number of substance abuse programs found in each.

How can you help Harlem?