We are marching for housing for the homeless because we are disgusted at the ineffectiveness and the cost of New York’s current shelter system. Every day the residents of Harlem see shelter residents discharged onto our streets without adequate support. As a result, our streets and our parks have become part of the Department of Homeless Services shelter system – failing shelter residents and failing the communities that house them.
The gross mismanagement of Harlem’s homeless shelter system, coupled with the oversaturation of shelters in our community reflects decades of systemic racism and closely follows the patterns laid out by redlining. Wealthier and frequently whiter neighborhoods in New York do not carry their fair share of New York’s shelter system. Our proud village of Harlem demands that all communities help to shelter our homeless neighbors and we have united behind a “Housing Not Shelter” policy.
We have 4 demands of our current and future mayor:
Oversaturated communities’ shelters must be redistributed to neighborhoods that are not sheltering their fair share of homeless New Yorkers
The shelter system’s budget must transition from shelters to market-rate rent vouchers.
Large congregant shelters must be downsized immediately and adequately staffed and supported
Shelter residents should be supported on-site with drug treatment, mental health, education, and job training programs directly located in the shelters.