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Urgent – Please Stop the DOE CARES program from being relocated to Harlem at West 124th Street (October 5, 2021)

Dear Chancellor Porter,

I am reaching out to you as there is a grave injustice about to be done to numerous Harlem children who go to different public and charter schools in the city who live/go to school in Central and South Harlem.  In the past three years, there has been an explosion of drug peddlers, users, people with severe mental health issues roaming the streets near and around 124th and Lenox Ave. This is because this neighborhood is being redlined by our elected officials and numerous providers.  Over 75% of its current patients come from outside Harlem from as far as Staten Island, New Jersey, and Westchester.  Our residential community has been inundated and no amount of pushback has been effective in stopping this expansion. 

Our children in Harlem are being exposed on a daily basis to drug peddlers and addicts and patients from substance use clinics/ needle exchange programs.  I cannot tell you enough about how bad it is and am appealing to you that you come to our neighborhood to see this for yourself and how bad an impact it would have on young developing minds to see this normalized in their daily lives. 

I am attaching a few photos so you will see a sample of how openly drug addicts shoot up just outside the school and across the street in full view of the students at Harlem Village Academy elementary school (74 West 124th Street) without any fear.  

We in our community would like you to come and see it for yourself before you allow this horrible transgression of adding the CARES program that Mount Sinai wants to house on the very same block where there are three such drug clinics.  The over-saturation and the fact that Mount Sinai wants to add 600+ additional patients with mental health issues to this already oversaturated area by mid-2022 to a new facility they are building despite strong opposition from our community is truly alarming.  

I do hope you will choose to be involved and include in that decision steps to stop Mount Sinai and OASAS from relocating their CARES program (an NYC DOE program) into this neighborhood.


(Pictures taken outside Harlem Village Academies (elementary) at 74 West 124th Street at the time of their school dismissal in full view of students and parents and one opposite their high school at the Marcus Garvey Park entrance in Harlem)

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