April 12, 2022
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, Mariah@vocal-ny.org
NEW: VOCAL-NY RELEASES ROADMAP WITH IMMEDIATE STEPS FOR MAYOR ADAMS TO REVERSE HARM AND END HOMELESSNESS
The Roadmap Comes Ahead of the Adams Administration’s Anticipated Housing Plan and After Hundreds of Encampment Sweeps Across the City
NEW YORK — Today, after a press conference in Fulton St. Station, VOCAL-NY released a roadmap with immediate actions the Adams Administration can take reverse harm and end homelessness in New York City. The roadmap lays out the following immediate steps Mayor Adams can take:
- Use all available vacant housing stock, NYCHA units, and vouchers to rehouse homeless New Yorkers.
- Immediately end encampment sweeps & quality of life criminalization that target homeless New Yorkers.
- Provide access to public, taxpayer-funded bathrooms in subways & in streets.
“There is so much work the Adams Administration can do to end homelessness – none of it being encampment sweeps or ousting people from the subways,” said Celina Trowell, VOCAL-NY’s Homelessness Union Organizer. “We can’t emphasize enough the harm that Adams tactics are causing, without providing any improvement on quality of life issues homeless New Yorkers are facing. This roadmap, driven by directly-impacted New Yorkers, has tangible steps that will actually move people off the streets and shelters, and into housing. We urge the Mayor to take heed of this plan.”
“We need a change from right to shelter, to right to housing,” said Milton Perez, a leader with VOCAL-NY’s Homelessness Union. “Landlords and developers have been sitting on 20,000 apartments, and the City controls an additional 2,500 vacancies, all while the Mayor wants to kick people off the subways and streets. It’s time to stop the sweeps.”
“The Mayor needs to stop the sweeps and leave people alone,” said Maria Walles, leader with Safety Net Activists. “Instead of harassing people and throwing their stuff away, he should offer them single hotel rooms and keys to their own apartments.”
New York is experiencing an increase of homelessness on the street because shelters have continued to fail at providing safe shelter and a viable pathway to housing. Adams has forcibly cleared more than 200 encampments, yet only 5 people have moved into the city’s shelters so far. This comes just weeks after two homeless New Yorkers were attacked on the street, leaving one dead in New York City. The Mayor’s sweeps and increased policing on the subways comes without any solutions to create permanent housing – instead aiming to move more homeless New Yorkers into congregate-style Safe Haven beds. Mayor Adams has a responsibility and the opportunity to address the homelessness crisis with care and compassion, not the same failed tactics that only harm people who are homeless.