Those who make money out of the suffering of the poor and the homeless

Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz | 9/29/2016, 2:13 p.m.
You should know that there are many people who are making a lot of money out of the suffering of ...
Homeless man in Harlem Bill Moore

You should know that there are many people who are making a lot of money out of the suffering of the poor and the homeless.

It is important for you to know that as the homeless population in the City of New York nears 60,000 and everyone talks about ways we can help the homeless—and even though the city and state spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars on homeless families, the money doesn’t really go to the homeless. It goes to people who are taking advantage of the situation.

Some individuals who are exploiting the homeless situation are landlords, who raise the rents higher and higher until they push their tenants out onto the streets. This way, their empty apartments can be converted to “cluster sites” or shelter units.

Whereas in the past, a landlord may have been charging $1,000 per month for an apartment for a lease-holding tenant, under these new circumstances, that same landlord can get $109 per night, in some cases up to $3,400 per month, to use these same apartments as municipal shelters.

Those landlords have many friends in high places, and they are protected by powerful people.

You should also know that throughout the City of New York, they are building more and more self-storage facilities than housing units. There are places where every two blocks you will find a self-storage facility being built. These storage facilities are a growth industry that feed off the homeless situation.

The owners of these storage facilities don’t have to employ too many people or pay workers insurance, health insurance and unemployment benefits, because the homeless people who use the facilities have to do all of the manual labor themselves to store their furniture and belongings.

As you can see, my dear friends, the self-storage facilities not only feed off the homeless but also use the homeless to do work for them.

While families are being displaced from their apartments and are being thrown into the streets, the City of New York will place them in cluster site shelters and at the same time, the city will pay the storage costs for the families’ furniture and belongings.

My dear friends, it is important for you to know that each storage unit can cost up to $150 to $200 per month. Add that to the moving costs the city pays to relocate an evicted family from their home to a shelter, which can run between $500 to $1000 per move, plus the $3,400 the landlord charges and the administrative costs to run the shelter. Wow!

Some New York City cluster site shelters only permit families to reside there for six months, and if the family continues to remain homeless, more money is spent to transport the families to yet another shelter or cluster housing site. The tax dollars that New Yorkers pay to transport and shuttle homeless families from shelter to shelter continue to keep homeless families in unstable situations while making other people rich.

My dear readers, it’s not just me who says this. The Coalition for the Homeless website states, “The city’s ‘cluster-site’ program creates powerful, perverse incentives for owners to displace lease-holding tenants in favor of lucrative shelter deals with the city.”