July 13, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Joseph Loonam, Joseph@vocal-ny.org, 347-409-4650
OVER A DOZEN HOMELESS NEW YORKERS AND ACTIVISTS TAKE LOBBY OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES TO DEMAND ‘HOTELS TO HOUSING’
As New Delta Variant Spreads, Activists Demand Permanent Housing, Oppose Mayors Attempts to Force Homeless New Yorkers Back into Dangerous Shelters
See Pictures from Take Over Below and on Twitter
NEW YORK — Homeless New Yorkers and activists have taken the lobby of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) at 4 World Trade Center to demand permanent housing and oppose the Mayor’s incessant attempts to force homeless New Yorkers back to congregate shelters. Activists are also protesting the dramatic increase of street sweeps and harassment of homeless New Yorkers living on the street.
“There’s no going back to normal after the pandemic, despite what city officials are trying to force us to do,” said Miriam Ocana, member of VOCAL-NY and resident of the Bowery Hanbee Hotel. “Sending us back into shelters or the streets is inhumane and ignores the evidence that says COVID-19 is still a threat. We disrupted business as usual at 4 World Trade Center to send a message to Mayor de Blasio and the DHS: Forget the hotel transfers and help us access the safe, affordable housing every New Yorkers deserves.”
During the protest on Tuesday, activists interrupted business as usual at the Department of Homeless Services, chanting and repeating aloud this statement to demand the City refocus efforts on providing permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers. Also present at the protest on Tuesday were residents of the Williams Hotel, who previously organized a protest outside of Gracie Mansion to demand housing.
Despite being forced to halt transfers due to a lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Society last Friday, Mayor de Blasio has offered no indication that the City will change focus to providing permanent, affordable homes to the thousands that remain in hotels. By immediately implementing recently passed Intro 146, and using new Section 8 vouchers, homeless New Yorkers believe the city can provide housing and all-together avoid putting thousands at risk of contracting COVID-19.