In our newest series, we share the human face of pressing economic issues. This month, controversy over locating new homeless shelters in New York City.
In an emergency decision earlier this year, the Department of Homeless Services came to an agreement with Samaritan Villages to open and operate a homeless shelter using the previously abandoned Pan American Hotel in Queens. The shelter is one of 11 like it to open this year, housing over 600 people, about half of which are children. The Elmhurst shelter has been met with outrage as local residents continue to protest against the city and the shelter highlighting the stigmatization homeless communities face regularly.
In a recent City Limits article, Jeff Foreman said the “name-calling and crowds grew so daunting officials interceded to take the homeless kids to a movie to keep them away from another protest. While it made for compelling summer TV viewing, it was just part of a growing trend of stigmatizing poverty, criminalizing homelessness and increasing attacks on vulnerable homeless people in New York and throughout the country.” Below is one photo of many depicting the real people at the heart of the turmoil:
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Hector Morales and his son, who are both homeless, participate in a rally on Wednesday in support of residents at the controversial Pan Am Shelter in Queens on August 20, 2014 in New York City. The facility, a former hotel which currently houses dozens of homeless families, has been denounced by area residents who fear higher crime rates and lower property values if homeless people stay there. Organizers of the rally stressed that the real problem is a lack of affordable housing for working and middle class families in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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