The Power of Wealth to Resist Fair Share

While the Greater Harlem Coalition’s focus is not housing, this pair of paragraphs highlighted a parallel issue (affordable housing):

Rezone More Affluent Neighborhoods

One of the biggest criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan has been its focus on asking lower-income neighborhoods to shoulder the load of new construction in the city, which, critics say, has led to the displacement of longtime residents.

“The system we have allows mainly rich, white neighborhoods to opt out of things, and to say ‘we don’t want that,’ but forces Black, brown and immigrant neighborhoods to take these things on,” said Barika Williams, the executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, a coalition of housing organizations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/realestate/housing-plan-new-york-mayor.html

A Letter to The Mayor from a Greater Harlem Coalition Member

To: The Honorable Mayor DeBlasio

Good afternoon Mr. Mayor, I hope this email finds you and your family all safe and healthy. This is the fourth email I am sending you over the last couple of months. I want to begin this correspondence by saying thank you for all the hard work that you and your staff are doing to help guide our New York City citizens through these harrowing times. I am very sad to hear about the one year old baby being murdered in Bed Sty over the last several days. The uptick in gun violence this year may be an anomaly compared to recent years due to multiple factors, but please understand that us New Yorkers are in need of the protection of good police officers to protect us. I hope that there is not a policy in place that is stopping the police from fighting to get illegal guns off our streets.

As before, the matter I am writing about concerns the rampant, open market heroin sales and use that has infected specifically my block on Malcolm X Boulevard between 123rd and 124th Streets. When I first visited the 28th precinct about 12 months or so ago to alert the police and ask for help, I was noticing only a few strangers walking up and down the block or standing outside in front of my house in the middle of the sidewalk selling bags of heroin to customers while families were walking their kids in strollers up and down the street.  There was no action taken by the police to address this problem for over a year.  My neighbors and I have been seeking help from the narcotics north division as well as from other city officials, but the problem has only gotten worse and worse.  Since the Covid 19 shut down, the heroin problem on this block has spiked exponentially. Now, each and every day, there are up to 20 different drug dealers who have set up our sidewalk as an open air market to sell and use heroin in public. There are addicts and homeless people who are trespassing on my property as well as on the property of my neighbors to buy and use heroin all day long and into the night.  The same drug dealers are working this block like a corporation, beginning work at 9:00 AM until. I came outside this morning to do errands and the first thing I encountered was a man leaning against my front gate, sniffing heroin in front of pedestrians passing by.  This is a disgusting and disgraceful condition that the residents who live here have been abandoned to live  with daily with no help from the police or from the Department of Health or from any other city agencies who are responsible for addressing this matter.  I don’t know who else to ask for help from at this point except from you personally.

They are not hiding but conducting business blatantly with no regard for the people who live here. Not one of these people who loiter daily on this block to sell and use heroin or any other drugs in public lives on this block.  Instead, they come here daily, drink malt liquor in public, throw trash and food waste onto the street, disturb the peace, loiter and ask everyone including myself if they want to buy some dope. What has happened to this block is disgraceful, depressing and very dangerous for the people who live here.  There is nothing on this block except for a corner store, a restaurant, several brownstones, a school and a closed-down church.  These dope dealers have been allowed by law enforcement for months to sell heroin directly in front of the church as well as the school, on camera with no consequence. The only reason our sidewalk is infested with loiterers and drug addicts is because local law enforcement has condoned the use of our block as a safe haven for heroin dealers to conduct open-air business with no consequences.  There was nothing done about this before the pandemic so I question whether this complacency on the part of the police has anything to do with anything else that came after the pandemic including Black Lives Matter protests, anti-protests, the recent spike in homicides, etc.

I understand that our police are under a lot of stress now dealing with gun violence but I am also concerned that our police are conducting some kind of passive strike upon our community in retaliation for community calls for police reform.  I don’t know the current policy of law enforcement when it comes to handling open market heroin sales but I do know that what is going on is definitely illegal.

I know that we are just one block in all the five boroughs, that there are so many other pressings issues on your plate and that we are not “special.” On behalf of my mother, my neighbors and myself, I am nonetheless humbly begging you to please, please, please direct the officers of the 28th precinct and of the narcotics north detective squad to arrest and remove this organization of heroin dealers from off of our block post-haste. We have spoken to and asked for help from city council officials, prosecutors, police officers, etc. with no results. The detectives have pictures of the same people who are destroying the public safety of our block but have yet to do anything about it.  I am hoping that you will assign a mobile police unit to our block for at least a few months until winter in order to stem the increasing tide of outdoor drug activity. We are only two blocks from the precinct but I never see officers walking a beat to remove this problem.  I am honestly afraid that one of the residents on this block will soon become a victim of homicide if nothing is done to control the plague of criminals that has besieged our block.  Please Mr. Mayor, please, I am begging you personally for your help. Thank you in advance.

With all due respect,                                                                                                                            

Mr. Ray Roberts

Malcolm X Boulevard United (MXB)

CBS News: Oversaturation of Harlem has attracted illegal drug sellers

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.

Drug deal W. 124th St between Lenox and ACP

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:

Click here to see the full segment:

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
Cafeine
Chaiwali
CIVITAS
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
HarlemHome
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
RDV
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

Patch: News on GHC’s Pressure on Mayor De Blasio

Patch reports on GHC’s letter to Mayor De Blasio complaining of deteriorating conditions

Our coalition has received some news coverage recently. Last week, Patch reported on the letter The Greater Harlem Coalition wrote to Mayor De Blasio about the significantly deteriorating conditions in our community.

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-group-asks-action-drug-use-homelessness

And sign-up for email updates by emailing:

GreaterHarlemCoalition@gmail.com

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?

Comparing the Promixity of Addiction Facilities to Schools

A comparison of two locations in Harlem where social services such as addiction treatment, homeless shelters, halfway houses, and mental health clinics with schools nearby.

Concentration of schools near the current West 114 Street Addiction Treatment Facility
Concentration of schools located near to the proposed over saturated addiction treatment facilities on West 124th Street.