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How We Treat the Homeless in New York City

January 16, 2013

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, “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:  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.

  1. Francois permalink

    Monsieur, I simply do not see how you complain about this place Project Renewal. It looks like a dream come true. See images from their Facebook:

    They have delicious food…

    Refreshing drink…

    And the most beautiful women outside France…

    I have not seen shelters this nice since my last visit to Greece!

    • Only the first picture has anything to do with Project Renewal. I guess you enjoy diarrhea, vomiting, and gout, not to mention those sausages have green spots and the one-egg omelets are room temperature.

      • Francois permalink

        Ah, no, monsieur. You are quite mistaken. All three pictures relate to Project Renewal. You will be convinced if only you can view their Facebook. The pictures 2 and 3 come from this “Fall Ball”. It looks like a fun party. Did you not attend?

      • Residents weren’t invited. It was obviously the staff self-congratulating themselves. I certainly didn’t see the women in the third picture. My guess is that they’re at the Varick Street headquarters where they don’t have to see the clients.

      • That’s how they spend their $595,000+ per month of taxpayer money, not on us.

  2. Ginger permalink

    Scott, are you seeking help for your mental well-being? I am no expert but I fear you are displaying symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder. I’m not being critical. I hope you get the help you need. You’re not employable in your current condition. Let’s not put the cart before the horse, here.

    • Well, I have seen experts, and they don’t agree. I last saw a psychotherapist on Christmas, and she said that it was clear that I have no mental disorders and that anyone who tried to claim such to get me housing would be defrauding the system. She did say that I could benefit from counseling (don’t they all? it’s good business), mentioning one of her co-workers by name as a strong possibility. I plan to do this once I have a new Medicaid card.

      You are far too quick to dismiss my information rather than seriously consider it. This suggests that you are an irrational ideologue. See, I can make armchair diagnoses, too, only there is no clinicial definition for these terms, only a dictionary one. By defending the status quo because it’s the status quo, you are an ideologue making irrational circular arguments.

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