Rally attendees called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to spend one night in a shelter following his recent statement regarding the excellent living conditions of the city’s homeless shelters.
“We have made the shelter system so much better that, unfortunately, when people are in it – or fortunately, depending on what your objective is – it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before,” Bloomberg said, according to The New York Post.
“This has got to stop and it just can’t keep happening,” said Herbert. “I’m asking the Department of Homeless Services’ commissioner, the mayor and the Partnership for the Homeless to get involved so we can get these families what they need.”
Complaints regarding insect and rat infestation, along with a violation of the American Disabilities Act, were just a few of the problems residents discussed.
Resident Shamecca Bell said she had been at the shelter for the past three years.
“We have rats the size of cats,” she said. “We just want something done because we just can’t keep living like this with our kids.”
Residents Deborah and Alan Barnes, who have lived in the shelter for a little over a year, discussed the staff’s lack of cooperation accommodating her husband’s disability.
“My husband’s in a wheel hair and we’re stuck in the system,” said Deborah, who reported that staff would only allow one doorway open in their room, preventing her husband from maneuvering freely in the facility. “Every time we speak with them about it, they threaten us.”
Resident Ciprian Moel talked about the difficulty of working a night job and finding care for his children. With three sons, he said there was no child care after certain hours.
“If I don’t have a job, I cannot find a way to get out of here,” he said. “But then they tell me since staff said there is no child care services past 9 p.m., if I do not quit my job, they will get the Administration for Children’s Services involved and I will lose my kids.”
Staff at the Salvation Army Bushwick Family Residence denied several interview requests on Sunday.