Friday, September 23, 2005

Chapter One

***The Beginning***

April 2000, I entered The City of New York’s shelter system. Just a few days before my forty second (42nd) birthday. After less than a forty-eight hour a stay at the homeless men's assessment center at Bellevue Hospital, I was transferred to Bedford and Atlantic Assessment Men’s Shelter Brooklyn New York, New York.

From there I was transferred to Borden Avenue Veteran’s Shelter Long Island City Queens, New York (also known as B.A.V.R., ) a men’s shelter for military veterans approximately two ( 2 ) months later. At B.A.V.R., I stayed until May 2002.

In March 2003 I was arrested and pleaded guilty to an assault charge. I served four of a seven months sentence. I am currently completing five years probation for that said charge. I very so much want to return to a productive form of life.

However, I’m finding it difficult to do so under the following circumstances. Here's my story, the truth of the past and the current:

The summer of 2004, I formed a client advisory board at the Consumer Information & Dispute Resolution, Inc., ran men’s Mentally Ill/ Chemically Addicted ( MICA ) shelter known as @Step-Up C.I.D.R., or The 3rd Avenue's Men's Shelter. The board started several petitions against @Step-Up for violations of The Callahan Consent Degree ( The New York State Supreme Court Callahan vs. Carey 1981 index # 42582/79 ).

During this time we ( The 3rd Avenue Client Advisory Board ) decided to develop a working relationship with The Coalition for the Homeless of New York City. The Coalition for the Homeless is an agency appointed by the New York State Supreme Court to monitor and advocate for the homeless of New York City.

I met with a Ms. Diana Olaizola the Shelter Specialist/Inspector for The Coalition for the Homeless of New York City. She we hoped would help to advocate our cause. Little did I know that the violations were being over looked by Ms. Oliazola. In other words she was turning a blind eye to the violations and not holding the shelters accountable for the violations.

“And she continues to pass shelters that have violations.”

I shall, however, do my best within my future posts to show and prove corruptions and unjust that are taken place within our government's administration of the homeless. Corruptions that not only costs and hurts us the tax payers and consumers but, corruption that also violates human rights and destroys human families.

However, before I continue, I want to take a few moments to reflect upon for the victims of Katrina. Many as we know are now homeless and a few who are bound to become residents of the NYS shelter system.

We submitted to Ms. Diana Olaizola of The Coalition For The Homeless of New York City , petitions concerning violations of the NYS Supreme Court’s Callahan Consent Decree. The violations were the concerns of the Third Avenue Men’s Shelter Client Advisory Board and the residences thereof at Step-Up @C.I.D.R. The petitions were signed by the majority of the population and hand delivered to Ms. Olaizola by yours truly.

The petitions were and are of the following violations as per The 1981 Callahan Consent Degree:

Shelter Standard Paragraph 2 sub paragraphs (a), (b), ( c), (e),(l), (j), (l) and Appendix A
Space Requirements for Shelter for Adults paragraphs (7),(8) line (v) sub line (a), and (9).

Beds: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (a) Each resident shall receive a bed of a minimum of 30 inches in width, substantially constructed in good repair and equipped with good springs.
The average bed width at Step-Up @C.I.D.R., is under thirty (30) inches.

Beds: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (b) Each bed shall be equipped with both a clean, comfortable a well-constructed mattress standard in size for the bed and a clean comfortable pillow of average size. The beds an mattresses are never cleaned

Linen: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (c) Each resident shall receive two clean sheets, a clean blanket and a clean pillow case, a clean towel soap and toilet tissues. A complete change in bed linen and for each new resident and at least once a week or more often on an individual basis.

Laundry: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (e) Laundry service shall be available to each resident no less than twice a week.

Transportation: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (j) Residences of shelter facilities shall be provided with Transportation ( public or private ) to enable them to return to the site where they applied for shelter.

Mail: paragraph 2 sub paragraph (l) Residents shall be allowed to receive and send mail and other correspondence without interception and interference.

Appendix A Space Requirements for Shelter for Adults

Paragraph (7) Baths and Toilet Facilities:
There shall be a minimum of one toilet and lavatory for every six residents and a minimum of one tub or shower for each ten residents.

Paragraph (8) Sleeping Rooms
Line v: All bedrooms shall be:
Sub line (a) above grade level;
Sub line (c)adequately ventilated

Paragraph (9) Adequate storage for cleaning supplies and equipment shall be provided.

Eventually the administration began to put pressure on me. Through their guile, they falsely had me arrested. The charges were dismissed. They had me sent to an emergency psychiatric ward. Fortunately, I was set-free after a few hours once I explained the turn of events to the doctor on call.

Then in January 2005, I was assaulted by another resident. Because I was on @Step-Up’s most wanted list, they decided they had enough to transfer me administratively.

I wanted to fight the transfer and maintain my standing position concerning housing placement. Therefore, I sort the advice of whom I thought was a friend and advocate against unjust towards the homeless Ms. Diana Olaizola.

She advised me not fight the transfer. Her reasoning was, why win and stay where I wasn’t wanted.

I said to Ms. Olaizola, “I wouldn’t challenge the transfer if, my position for housing placement would continue without change and or adverse consequences.” I wanted to know that the transfer wouldn’t obstruct my housing process in any way. She assured me it would continue without any adverse effects. She said she would pre-informed the director ( Ms. Etta Graham ) of my arrival. She said also that she would let the her ( Ms. Etta Graham ) know that I was one of her people and to keep an eye out for me.

I accepted the transfer without contest. A few days later I arrived at Fort Washington (MICA) Men’s Shelter . It’s located at 651 West 168th Street in New York, NY. It’s in Washington Heights. Word on the street says, Washington Heights is the Dominican Republic but, with drugs. It’s the notorious and famed Fort Washington Men’s Shelter which Matt Dillon and Danny Glover did a heart wretch movie titled, “The Saint of Fort Washington.”