March 13, 2022
Celina Trowell, Celina@vocal-ny.org, 347-309-6621
VOCAL-NY RESPONDS TO BRAZEN VIOLENCE AGAINST TWO HOMELESS NEW YORKERS IN NYC
NEW YORK — In response to the reports of deadly attacks on homeless New Yorkers, VOCAL-NY released the following statement attributable to Celina Trowell, Homelessness Union Organizer:
“To be clear, this tragedy is the direct result of a growing reckless and hateful anti-homeless culture that has been allowed to exist by this current mayoral administration and the media. It’s one that praises the criminalization and stigmatization of people experiencing homelessness. It is this very same rhetoric that has embolden and self-deputized others to inflict harm on community members who already have to endure state harm and failed policies. We do not need new iterations of previously failed outreach experiments and the criminalization of our biological need to sleep. We have said it before and we will say it louder, the answer to homelessness is permanent, safe and humane housing and care. That is what justice looks like for people experiencing homelessness.”
Unsheltered individuals face a heightened risk of violence every single day. This incident is a horrific reminder of the attacks that occurred in February of 2021 and October of 2019, and the failure of our state and city to provide the safe haven beds and other resources necessary to house unsheltered New Yorkers.
New York is experiencing an increase of homelessness on the street because shelters have continued to fail at providing safe shelter and a viable pathway to housing. This month, not only have many living on the street had to face increased violence from the community but targeting from aggressive, ill-equipped police forces as well. Within the first week of the state and cities coordinated SOS initiative thousands have been forced off of trains and subway tunnels, yet only 22 accepted placement in shelters while 153 people were arrested.