With delta variant on rise, activists continue to oppose group shelter transfer

Protesters lined up on Broadway with signs criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio and his treatment of homeless New Yorkers.
Protesters lined up on Broadway with signs criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio and his treatment of homeless New Yorkers.
Kay Dervishi
Activists blocked a roadway while calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop transferring homeless people back to congregate shetlers.

With delta variant on rise, activists continue to oppose group shelter transfer

Advocates for homeless people are calling on the mayor to let them stay in hotels amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
July 30, 2021

As New York City faces rising coronavirus cases again as a result of the delta variant, government officials have started to push more city workers to get vaccinated and are now hinting at reviving indoor mask mandates. Advocates for homeless New Yorkers say this trend only further emphasizes the need for the city to stop sending homeless people out of temporary shelters in hotels and back to group shelters where social distancing is difficult to implement.

Activists, including several from the nonprofit Housing Works, stood alongside City Comptroller Democratic nominee Brad Lander and Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas in calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio to put the rehousing plan on pause during a rally yesterday near City Hall Park.

“Those of us who have been and are currently unhoused are humans,” said Shams DaBaron, an activist also known as “Da Homeless Hero.” “And you are violating the basic rights of humans in your quest to appease the rich, you are sacrificing the lives of the poor.”

The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases is close to 1,000, compared with about 200 last month. Around three-fourths of those cases are attributed to the delta variant of the virus. Advocates for people dealing with homelessness say vaccination rates are too low among people in shelters for congregate settings to be safe given the increase in cases.

Protesters also called on the de Blasio administration to implement a law signed earlier this year that would increase the value of the city’s rental assistance vouchers.

Several activists gathered on Broadway, blocking traffic, to call for transfers to be halted and for greater support to be given to people facing homelessness. Chanting “all Black lives matter” and “stop the transfers, stop the sweeps,” some advocates threw vinyl records over signs of the mayor’s face with the caption “Greatest Hits: Bill de Blasio.” NYPD officers arrested some protesters for blocking the roadway.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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