In New York City, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio is attempting to take measures to remove homeless people from their pandemic hotel rooms. However, this has caused a major fiasco on both sides of the situation.
For example, in the Upper West Side, the homeless living there were transferred to a new facility but this new facility reportedly had no working elevators or refrigerators.
Why This is an Issue
A lack of reliable resources like elevators and refrigerators can cause problems. Some homeless people also have healthcare needs like diabetes, high blood sugar, respiratory illnesses, and other conditions, just like non-homeless do.
Having no refrigerators would mean that they would have trouble storing medications or storing healthy food items like fruits and vegetables.
Of course, some may be worried that the homeless may take advantage of these things, but the negative acts of a few do not always reflect the acts of the entire group.
If there are no working elevators, those who are wheelchair-bound may have trouble getting around and may feel like they are trapped and isolated. It's always good to have accessible features in a building. For example, lots of buildings have ramps and wider hallways.
As one can imagine, some of the homeless are likely feeling like they are trapped. As Alvin Murray, a diabetic 58-year-old reportedly stated:
“I feel like I’m in prison...but I have to tolerate what it is."
In this specific case, Alvin was transferred from Hotel Belleclaire in the Upper West Side to the Sweet Home Suites in Queens. He was transferred to another hotel because federal law requests special accommodations be made for homeless people with exceptional circumstances.
The federal law can override state and city law.
Alvin couldn't refrigerate his medication or special food because there was no refrigerator to store them in. Despite this sadness and struggle, his story highlights some of the interesting facets of homelessness.
Division in the General Population
While it is unfortunate, it seems that the general population is kind of divided on this homelessness situation. You see, some people sympathize with their plight, but there are always a few bad people that ruin it for the rest of the good ones. For example, all it takes is one problematic homeless to do something bad, and then suddenly the public is not sympathetic anymore.
While some of these services seem basic, like having a refrigerator, it is a central important feature for many homeless, especially if some of them have health issues. Plus, many Americans have similar issues despite not being homeless.
Some Are Being Moved to Other Hotels
Mayor Bill de Blasio wanted to move homeless people out of their hotels and into group shelters, however, due to specific federal laws, some homeless are simply being transferred to another hotel, further away from the central city core.
It seems that given world events, those group shelters could easily become hotspots for germs. It is unclear how many homeless people are vaccinated in New York City or even New York State. This uncertainty may make everyone nervous.
Plus, the main reason why some homeless were placed in hotels was that in the early days of the pandemic, group shelters were germ hotspots, and spacing them all out across many buildings (including hotels) was the only option.
However, some locals may have complained about their newfound neighbors and are likely wanting them elsewhere.
Final Thoughts and Summary
The homeless situation is pretty bad in New York City and possibly New York State. Mayor Bill de Blasio has plans to move out the homeless outside of the central city core, but some homeless have reported issues with their new living arranagements.
Federal law prevents the homeless from being transferred very easily (or even outright rejected from hotels), especially if many have ongoing health issues and accomodations. For now, though, we will have to sit tight.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we can agree that this whole situation in New York is getting quite complex.