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The Appeal: New York City Mayoral Candidates Blast de Blasio’s Housing Record

“Homelessness in particular is the kind of issue where a lot of the solutions are thought about in rooms that don’t include any people who are actually impacted by the problem,” Joseph Loonam, housing campaign coordinator for VOCAL-NY, told The Appeal. “[The forum has] really been led by, not just homeless New Yorkers, but specifically homeless New Yorkers that have … come under a lot of NIMBY-ist attacks.”

Times Union: Albany activists plan police reform forum near Sheehan’s home

The city’s process lacks the transparency and the inclusivity that activists are looking for, said Luke Grandis, an organizer with Vocal NY who helped put together the event, along with several other social justice groups. Organizers are calling their event a forum, rather than a demonstration, in hope of avoiding a police presence in case anyone is uncomfortable speaking in front of officers.

New York Daily News: Protesters demand de Blasio’s ‘transfer’ from Gracie Mansion after controversial plan to displace homeless hotel residents

“It could happen in the middle of the night,” Feliz Guzman, 39, an organizer with Vocal NY, told protesters.

”You find out you are being moved and you do not know where you are going to go. So in the middle of all your issues you are having and trying to preserve your humanity, you end up being told that you are not welcome there anymore.”

TIME: ‘A Pandemic Upon an Epidemic.’ Syringe Services Struggle to Provide Care to Those Battling Drug Addiction Amid COVID-19

Programs in big cities are adapting, too. For example, VOCAL-NY, a statewide grassroots organization that helps low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, runs a syringe services program out of Brooklyn. When the pandemic struck New York City, the organization started providing people with personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer.

Gothamist: New York State Legislature Votes To Repeal Law 50-A That Shields Police From Scrutiny

Roger Clark, a 48-year-old VOCAL-NY community leader, called the bill’s passage “a very big deal.”

“I have been fighting for years to pass this 50-A bill, and for years the police unions have been blocking the legislation, telling [lawmakers] that it was wrong, that it’s gonna put officers at risk, which we know is not true,” Clark said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

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