#HomelessCantStayHome - ​NYC must take emergency measures to combat COVID-19 by offering every homeless person a safe home now!​

Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo

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A NYC homeless shelter in late March 2020

As New York approaches the apex of the COVID crisis, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio still have NO PLAN to rehouse and protect homeless New Yorkers. While hundreds of thousands of apartments and hotel rooms go empty and New Yorkers are told to stay at home, homeless New Yorkers have nowhere safe to stay. This is absolutely wrong and unacceptable.

Over 21,000 homeless New Yorkers are currently sleeping head-to-toe in dormitory-style shelters and thousands are sleeping on the streets and subways with nowhere to shower. Thousands more New Yorkers impacted by COVID may need to enter shelter in the coming months. As of March 30th, there were 120 cases of COVID-19 reported in 60 different NYC homeless shelters (which can each shelter hundreds of people apiece). Seven homeless New Yorkers have also tested positive while living on the streets. We know that this is only the tip of the iceberg as testing has been grossly inadequate.

Homeless people are human beings: they are our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Their lives are not disposable and their needs must be addressed with the same urgency and compassion as those who have housing. Their safety is also bound to ours - if we fail to keep the homeless safe, we will also fail to keep our City safe as infection spreads and hospital beds fill with homeless New Yorkers who are stuck in dangerous living conditions with no other option. To save our City and ourselves, we call on the Mayor and Governor to-

  1. Immediately offer 30,000 of the city's 100,000+ vacant hotel rooms to all homeless people who need a safe room, including those on the streets, those in congregate shelters, and those who have recently become homeless. COVID19 will continue its rapid spread among NYC's homeless population if we do not offer safe housing now so that people can safely social distance and practice personal hygiene, regardless of whether or not they are sick. Other cities and states have already started to implement plans to offer hotel rooms to homeless people (whether or not they are sick with COVID-19), including in Connecticut and New Orleans.

  2. Stop all law enforcement sweeps, diversion, and targeting of homeless New Yorkers:
    In the midst of this pandemic, the City has continued to conduct forcible “sweeps” and “clean-ups” targeting homeless people living on the streets in addition to harassing homeless people on subways via the coercive “Subway Diversion Program.” This is cruel, dangerous, and explicitly against CDC guidance. It must stop immediately.

  3. Implement an immediate plan to provide permanent homes for every homeless New Yorker. Hotel rooms are a short-term solution. Everyone should have a permanent home. There is still tremendous housing stock in vacant City or State-owned and privately-owned buildings, including vacant rent-stabilized units, condos, vacant HPD Housing Connect Units (some of which are currently reserved for those making over six figures), empty NYCHA units, and empty supportive housing units. These units must all be made available to homeless New Yorkers immediately. Now that vacancy decontrol has been rolled back, renovating and renting vacant apartments that have been vacant for years would result in a surge of available very affordable rentals, saving the City millions of dollars. City rental subsidies must also be increased to reflect rents in New York City and must be made available to all who are homeless so that homeless New Yorkers can locate permanent homes and move out.
Please share this widely! Every hour that Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo wait to take action marks another hour that homeless New Yorkers (and all of us) face increased risks from COVID-19.


Signed,

Communities United for Police Reform

Human.nyc

Neighbors Together

Picture the Homeless

Safety Net Activists at the Urban Justice Center

VOCAL-NY

To: Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo
From: [Your Name]

As New York approaches the apex of the COVID-19 crisis, there is still on plan to rehouse and protect homeless New Yorkers. While hundreds of thousands of apartments and hotel rooms go empty and New Yorkers are told to stay at home, homeless New Yorkers have nowhere safe to stay. This is absolutely wrong and unacceptable.

Over 17,000 homeless New Yorkers are currently sleeping head-to-toe in dormitory-style shelters and an estimated 4,000 are sleeping on the streets and subways with nowhere to shower. As of March 30th, there were 120 cases of COVID-19 reported in 60 different NYC homeless shelters (which can each shelter hundreds of people apiece). Seven homeless New Yorkers have also tested positive while living on the streets. We know that this is only the tip of the iceberg as testing has been grossly inadequate.

Homeless people are human beings: they are our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Their lives are not disposable and their needs must be addressed with the same urgency and compassion as those who have housing. Their safety is also bound to ours - if we fail to keep the homeless safe, we will also fail to keep our City safe as infection spreads and hospital beds fill with homeless New Yorkers who are stuck in dangerous living conditions with no other option. To save our City and ourselves, we call on you to-

1. Immediately offer hotel rooms to all homeless people who need a safe room, including those on the streets, those in congregate shelters, and those who have recently become homeless.
COVID19 will continue its rapid spread among NYC's homeless population if we do not offer safe housing now so that people can safely social distance and practice personal hygiene, regardless of whether or not they are sick. Other cities and states have already started to implement plans to offer hotel rooms to homeless people (whether or not they are sick with COVID-19), including in Connecticut and New Orleans.

2. Stop all law enforcement sweeps, diversion, and targeting of homeless New Yorkers.
In the midst of this pandemic, the City has continued to conduct forcible “sweeps” and “clean-ups” targeting homeless people living on the streets in addition to harassing homeless people on subways via the coercive “Subway Diversion Program.” This is cruel, dangerous, and explicitly against CDC guidance. It must stop immediately.

3. Implement an immediate plan to provide permanent homes for every New Yorker.
Hotel rooms are a short-term solution. Everyone should have a permanent home. There is still tremendous housing stock in vacant City or State-owned and privately-owned buildings, including vacant rent-stabilized units, condos, vacant HPD Housing Connect Units (some of which are currently reserved for those making over six figures), empty NYCHA units, and empty supportive housing units. These units must all be made available to homeless New Yorkers immediately. Now that vacancy decontrol has been rolled back, renovating and renting vacant apartments that have been vacant for years would result in a surge of available very affordable rentals, saving the City millions of dollars. City rental subsidies must also be increased to reflect rents in New York City and must be made available to all who are homeless so that homeless New Yorkers can locate permanent homes and move out.