How We Treat the Homeless in New York City
Yesterday, I saw a subway advertisement from Food Bank of New York, saying that $1 buys five meals for hungry New Yorkers. That was exemplified by today’s breakfast–a bagel (although of far better quality than the “cinder blocks” served at Eddie Harris) with one packet of cream cheese (something Eddie Harris never provided), two 1-serving containers of Hospitality Corn Flakes, one half-pint of Cream-o-Land milk, one Styrofoam cup of orange juice, and a tangerine.
Considering that I won’t be eating lunch there (and they refuse to provide me with a bag lunch, and I cannot do job search via computer from the shelter because, supposedly, according to director Luis Abreu at a house meeting a couple of weeks ago, people there before me downloaded high resolution porn videos while a staff member watched and was supposedly impotent to stop, and they slowed down the caseworker’s computers), and it is unlikely that I will be eating dinner, that means that providing me with a cot and a locker is somehow worth $116.47 to the City of New York, when, for the same amount of money, I could be put in a very nice hotel room.
What does Project Renewal, Eddie Harris, or even the Bellevue intake shelter (by far the best shelter at which I’ve stayed, and I thought it was pretty lousy at the time) do to earn that $116.47?
According to https://twitter.com/ProjectRenewal, “Project Renewal is the only organization in New York City that provides everything homeless New Yorkers need to move from the streets into health, homes & jobs.” Really?
By giving people food poisoning, gout, and impetigo, and hopefully not anything else I don’t know about, letting them smoke tobacco, marijuana, and crack in the restroom to stink up the clothing of others who actually need to use the restroom, not to mention shoot up heroin and leave their needles on the floor to potentially give HIV/AIDS to other people, they help people into health?
How do they help people into housing? They told me that my best bet was to get a job and get out, because they really have no mechanism in place to help someone without a mental health or substance abuse problem, so scratch that claim. It is utterly false when presented without such qualifiers, and extremely dishonest to imply that all homeless people fall into such categories, when people are becoming homeless as a result of the job market at alarmingly high rates. The FEGS worker put this down as “the economy” as being an obstacle to me finding work. This is a misnomer that I wish people would stop saying. As long as profits are at record highs, there is no problem with the economy. The problem is that the job market has been made artificially stagnant by greedy business people. (Source: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/12/03/1270541/corporate-profits-wages-record/?mobile=nc) If these people are the “job creators” that the Tea Party Republicans tout them as, they are derelict of duty and need to suffer punishments as great as I have had to endure as a sheltered homeless person, of which New York has about 47,000.
And what has Project Renewal done to help me into a job? Thus far, they have had me fill out forms that prove that I’m applying for jobs, a tedious exercise that has me track down the addresses and phone numbers of the companies to which I have applied online (which is often not a possible task based on the information not disclosed in the ads. One staffing service, White Glove Staffing, has a placeholder website so that I can’t even provide that information with the name of the company known. They call for the date, company, contact, information, address, salary/hourly pay (which I almost always have to leave blank because it is unstated in the ad), “Type of Contact Made” (usually just “app”), “Next Step in Process” (always “wait”), and “Notes/Additional Information,” where I put the job title, since evidently, that’s not of any significance to them. The only other job assistance that they provided me was a referral to interview for an $8 an hour admin position (That’s supposed to be a living wage that will help me move out???) at the Bronx Workforce1, and since they gave me the details after midnight, I inadvertently went to the former 161st street location rather than the Fordham Road location where they had moved. That was when I first met with my caseworker. To date, I have been supplied with nothing else in terms of job assistance from them. Since I had all those useless appointments in Manhattan last week, I had lunch at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen one of the days, and someone else at the same table said that the job of a shelter caseworker is similar to that of a CEO–show up to work, pick up a paycheck, and go home.
I honestly have no idea what qualifications that my caseworker may have, although typing speed is certainly not one of them. She seems to care more about her manicure than anything else in life and her overall manner is very reminiscent of the sexy stupid person impression that Amanda Elizabeth Sawyer used on the vlog that I reposted yesterday.
It is asinine and unjust to slap my judgments with the label “ingratitude,” whereas I have every right to know where $117 a day that is supposedly spent on my behalf goes.