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Crazy Eddie’s Homeless Shelter uses residents as a cash cow.

September 5, 2012



This is the document that proclaims for one and all that Eddie Harris Men’s Shelter does not allow residents to charge their cell phones anywhere on the premises.  No intelligent person could consider this a reasonable policy if the goal of the shelter is to get residents working and independent again.


I have never before lost a mobile phone, and in fact have three inactive phones in my storage unit, but the policy of the Eddie Harris men’s shelter caused me to seek out alternative places to charge my phone.  I am getting my computer access from the Brooklyn College library, and have been charging my phone and electric razor there because I can’t do it at the place where I sleep.  I do have a tendency to forget about my phone when it’s on the charger, and have often left it at home by mistake.  When the library closed at 5 PM on August 31, I inadvertently left both of these plugged into the wall, realizing this on the train ride into Manhattan.  The library was closed all weekend for Labor Day, and when I was there bright and early Monday morning, they were gone, and absent from the lost and found.

I demanded that the director of Department of Homeless Services Client Advocacy defend this policy, but I don’t expect a response.  Her responses are always asking me how close I am to having employment or my own place.

Republicans like to claim that Democrats like to keep the poor dependent on such services.  I don’t know or care the political bent of the administration of Eddie Harris Shelter (the first hit for which on Google reveals that they have no less than 29 health violations), but it is clear that this policy is a cost-cutting measure that puts up unreasonable obstacles for those who want to break free of the shelter system, where I don’t think most of us wanted to be to begin with.  Add to this that we are require to apply to a minimum of 25 jobs per week and document the details for each employer.  what is the point if the employer cannot call us because our phone is dead.  These days, you don’t have many chances, because they’ll just move on to the next one.  My job search is substantially hurt by my obeisance to this policy.  I never got my phone confiscated by the guards (which I believe is most likely illegal), but instead I have lost it by a proxy theft that would never have occurred had the shelter not set up the conditions for it to happen with their draconian policy.

The shelter should be forced to make restitution of all phones lost based on this policy, and to reactivate the electricity in the dormitories.  They are stealing taxpayer dollars in doing so.  This shelter is so cheap that they insist on serving our seconds on our used disposable plates, which is illegal for a restaurant to do under health and sanitation regulations.  I don’t believe a shelter is in any way exempt from this.


  1. mike permalink

    Utter Garbage. While there are concerning issues at all shelters, the main problems are the shelter clients who are hell bent on a free ride. statistics prove that most are caught up in the drug life. The mentally ill and handicapped you can’t fault. you also have widespread non-compliance. Being homeless does not mean you are helpless. you have to do some things for yourself. Be a man.

    • Well, I’m not on drugs, and that does not excuse the violations of the shelter. You consider truth to be garbage. You are an obnoxious ass. I was forced into the shelter because of physical challenges and have every right to complain about every broken law. To throw the blame on me for others breaking the law is pure nonsense.

      • mike permalink

        No one is throwing blame on you. What i’m saying is that we do not live in a perfect world where everyone abides by the law or follow regulations. Your problem is that you are so focused on what others are not doing that you are not in line on what you should be doing for yourself. Stop relying on someone else to solve all your issues. I’ve been in the shelters and moved on to better things, mostly due to my determination to help people to help me. You can choose to sit and complain all you want, but I tell you it’s the same old tired song and nobody’s listening. Shelters are impowered to provide a service, and as long as they can prove to the powers that govern them that they are doing so, your complaints mean nil. There is nothing written in any giudelines stating that a shelter provider has to care about you. You have to care enough about yourself.

  2. There are laws about what the shelter staff has to do, and they are not abiding by them. People like you who jump to stereotypes and condone illegal behavior are part of the problem. No one is lifting a finger to help me other than myself, and I can’t do it alone. I have proven that the shelter is not providing that service, but you are saying that evidence is worthless without any particular reason, but insisting that contrary evidence exists without providing any. You are a moral and logical failure.

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