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Removed from Office

August 3, 2016

Tellingly, the day Bill Bratton resigned as Commissioner of the NYPD, I arrived home to a broken window. A man had kicked a huge crack in a pane of the glass door at the front entrance to the shelter after Louis Burns accused him of being a “druggie” based on no evidence when his homelessness was caused by a dissolved marriage. I was told that this morning by a guy who lost his bed because he was in isolation at the hospital with walking pneumonia and told he had to sleep in the lobby, the coldest part of the building, if he wanted to sleep there at all. This particular guy has serious issues, complaining that people aren’t acting like adults while he throws tantrums at the littlest thing, like people walking behind him at breakfast because he chooses to sit at the table nearest to the toaster. He also made the same complaint I had about Sam Dennis, saying he has no ability to help people get jobs and spends most of the time he is there (which is not even close to eight hours) sleeping at his desk. He also said that Mr. Burns was skimming off his escrow account at the shelter, and he had to see Jose Rosa, the Director of Social Services, to get the money back. If true, it would explain why Mr. Burns was pushing me for so long to take my money out of the bank and put it in escrow with the shelter, ostensibly to keep my ex-landlord and Navient away from it.

His claims were somewhat vindicated by the unprofessionality I encountered today. Yesterday, they wanted us to clear the area by the radiator and window for painting. It was posted several days ago that this would be done on August 2nd. I made sure to be up early and have the room prepared with everything from that area on the bed or in places it normally isn’t. When I arrived back at the shelter, the radiator was covered in dust and had clearly not been painted. I put everything back the way it was because the room is unlivable in that state, with the majority of the bed covered and the shopping cart blocking my locker. Then today they wanted me to let them paint in my room while I’ve got my good clothes out and had been dressing for a job interview I have today and the room is unprepared, because the maintenance staff was too lazy to do it at the appropriate time, when it was announced, and I did my part to accommodate. This is part and parcel of the disrespect shelter staff have for residents.

Then I was raising my voice again because Mr. Burns wanted to see me. He never sees me on a consistent day of the week, and I’m usually either informed when he beats on the shower door or by the security preventing me from leaving the building. Thankfully, my interview is not until 4 PM, but that put me in a crunch to do all the things I need to do on the company website prior to the interview, which I wasn’t informed about until I was off the computer for the day yesterday, as per NYPL policy.

At this meeting I was attacked by Mr. Burns and Robert De Guzman, the director of the shelter, who looks like he’s about 26. They told me that between the CD collection in my room having gotten “too large” and the fact that I did not search for housing aggressively enough when I was employed at the temp job made me out of compliance and not allowed to serve as president of the client advisory board. They do seem intimidated about transferring me because of my candidacy for a State Assembly seat in the district and started asking me a lot of questions about the Green Party and if I was getting money from them. I told them how little the County chapter has in their bank account.

I had to reiterate the facts of my disability and why it doesn’t qualify me for Social Security to Mr. De Guzman. Everything came down to their belief that I was spending too much on storage and that I need to be willing to downsize. I said that I was treating it just like the monthly rent of an apartment, and they said that that was what they were afraid of. They started talking about having me go to an investment professional to understand how much losing by trying to retain my property while the 1% is failing to even give me an opportunity to work for a living. Mr. De Guzman did make clear that my housing at the shelter was not in jeopardy, only that it was their decision that I need to work on myself and could not allow me to serve on the client advisory board. My guess is that they realize that since I was the only one enthusiastic about running that I might be something other than a toady. It’s true that I have enough I my plate and didn’t need the extra task, so I’m not terribly angry about that. I was much more angry about the way they terrorize me about my storage, and about having too much property in my room. It reinforces the assertion I made in my previous blog that the goal here is privation rather than help.

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One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on News From the Bronx and commented:
    Give me shelter song. The storm is threaten, my life to pay…. If NYC don’t give Scott shelter, he gonna fade away… Lorddddd, chillun, it’s just a shot away, shot away, shot away…. wooo hoooh hooh.

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