NYC Homeless Services Terminates Cluster Site Contract With BK Provider

As of November 2016, Nearly 63,000 people were homeless in New York City, according to Coalition for the Homeless

What to Know

  • 78 percent of hotels used to house the homeless have 433 open violations, a January investigative report revealed
  • Manhattan is the worst borough for hotel infractions, accounting for roughly 69% of all citywide violations
  • As of November 2016, about 65,000 people are living homeless in New York City, according to Coaltion for the Homeless

The city's Department of Homeless Services (DHS) says it will phase out the Bushwick Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO) as a service provider sheltering the city's homeless in hotels and cluster sites, the agency announced Thursday.

DHS spokesman Isaac McGinnsaid they will eliminate or transition BEDCO's hotel and cluster site portfolio to other providers to work with the 2,132 New Yorkers living at these sites following a comprehensive review of its operations.

The agency has negotiated an acquisition to secure new providers for all BEDCO-run cluster shelter locations. The agency said it will take other measure to phase out the nonprofit provider at homeless hotels for New Yorkers.

"Wherever possible, we are working to kepe New Yorkers in their home and out of shelter though a prevention-first strategy," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "For our homeless neighbors in shelter, we are making an unprecedented number of hcanges to dramaticall improve shelter conditions and services."

Banks added that the city eliminated more than 10,000 shelter building code violations that had built up over several years.

BEDCO wasn't immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

Last year, DHS ended the use of two other nonprofit service providers with a history of noncompliance and shameful shelter conditions after a 90-day review of homeless services. 

Hundreds of the city's homeless are living in deplorable conditions that include peeling lead paint, malfunctioning toilets and mouse droppings, an investigative report by the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) revealed Thursday.

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New Yorkers were reminded of the dangerous conditions of these run-down sites when two sisters, ages 1 and 2, died after a radiator bursted in their apartment and scalded them with steam in December 2016.

Nancy Peters, a resident at a BEDCO cluster site, told the I-Team in December that she wore a headlamp for weeks because her apartment was without power. She said she could see and smell the mold in her apartment, but that other cluster residents were living in worse conditions.

Nearly 12,000 of the city's homeless are being housed in 3,200 units with nearly 13,900 open violations, according to DHS.

A January investigative report revealed the deplorable conditions the city's homeless endured at cluster and hotel sites, including dirty walls, charred stovetops, bent and rusted latches on cabinets and refrigerators, moldy ceilings, and smoke detectors haphazardly covered in plastic bags.

At at time where homelessness in New York City has exceeded levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, state senators are calling for a legislative solution to the city's homeless problem.

"It is unconscionable to allow children and families to be forced to live in these violation-ridden hotels and cluster sites," said Democratic Senator Diane Savino, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn. "These sites lack the basic services that homeless families should have access to and make living a normal life difficult, if not impossible."

The IDC plans to enact a $488.6 million anti-homelessness program in 2017. The federally and state funded program will supplement rent payments for families and individuals facing eviction, are currently homeless, or who have lost housing due to hazardous conditions or domestic violence.

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