A Coalition for the Homeless study discovered most civilization surveyed had actually been top top the roads or subways for at the very least a year, fear to walk to shelters. Some take refuge in out-of-the-way spots — consisting of behind The Bronx Zoo.

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Anthony Lewis, 62, hunkered under in a tart blue canvas camping chair on the sidewalk throughout from the Chrysler structure as a frigid wind raced under 42nd Street.

He’d simply been offered a pair that gloves by a kind passerby. Yet the parka the wore and the thin beige ceiling wrapped approximately him couldn’t keep Friday’s early on spring cold indigenous chilling his bones.

“Seven month I’m out here,” Lewis said. “It’s crazy. That hard.”

He’s a diabetic who must provide himself insulin shots. In between the disease and the streets, his feet space a continuous source that pain. On his roller cart through all his worldly possessions, the attached a worn Santa Claus doll and a cardboard authorize declaring,

“Oh, Lord! ns am homeless, hungry, cold and broke! Please help me this day. Amen.”

Lewis is relying ~ above prayer due to the fact that he claims he can’t rely on spending also a single night in a new York City homeless shelter.

He’s from Manhattan however when he tried the shelter mechanism he found himself transferred anywhere the city, come the outer edges of Queens and also Brooklyn. The asked for for sure Haven housing that the city provides to people who won’t remain in shelters because of concerns about violence.

But he claimed he has yet to be observed by homeless aid workers on the street long sufficient to qualify.

“You need to be on the street a entirety year,” he said. “That’s crazy. Currently I got to suffer for a complete year the end here.”

‘Chaotic and Unsafe’

Lewis’ aversion to house is pervasive among the so-called street homeless, according to a survey of 200 unsheltered individuals across brand-new York City compiled through the Coalition because that the Homeless and released Monday.

The survey, titled “View from The Street,” took location over number of months in early 2018 v a follow up in January and February that this year, including some pandemic perspective.

Written by lindsey Davis, the Coalition’s an elderly director of dilemm services, the report offers a candid home window into a civilization that many new Yorkers view on a everyday basis yet do not constantly understand.

The Coalition found that 73% that those surveyed had been on the streets for at the very least a year, 66% had been diagnosed through or shown mental health issues, and 43% had actually physical wellness conditions.

Three that four people questioned had actually spent some time in shelters, v 38% saying the key reason they left to be their concerns about personal safety — a subject THE CITY has actually reported on extensively. About 25% said they had obstacles with rules and also procedures.

Some the those surveyed i will not ~ say where they walk at night. Yet of the 177 that did, just 11% stated they would bed under in shelters or drop-in centers as soon as temperatures fall.

A person sleeps under a tree in central Park, utilizing a resting bag to keep warm on an unusually chilly beforehand spring day. Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY many — 62% — claimed they relied top top the transit device instead, a strategy complex by the pandemic-spurred overnight shutdown for cleaning.

“Shelters are considered by plenty of homeless people as giving an unacceptably low level of an individual security,” the report states. “The incidence that theft, physical attack, or other varieties of violate in the shelters — even if it is experienced, witnessed, or merely rumored — plainly contributes to the perception of the shelter device as chaotic and also unsafe.”

The vast majority of those interviewed were single adults, and most had actually been in new York on typical 30 years. More than a 3rd — 36% — were born here, and also 42% were when rent-paying tenants who dropped on financial difficulties that caused eviction.

‘Behind The Bronx Zoo’

The Coalition field workers who did the survey chronicled the habits and also survival an abilities of the unsheltered, finding castle in usual places, including hubs choose Penn Station and the port Authority, and also on church actions huddled in cardboard crate or bedded under in ATM vestibules.

Then there to be the more unusual spots: a balcony in a public housing development; on the street close to a police station; in a small park “where a few of united state look the end for every other;” and also in the woods “behind the Bronx Zoo.”

Those surveyed included Whitney, a bipolar woman with multiple sclerosis who stated she’s “nearly 60” and also needs a pedestrian to get around.

“She’s tried the shelters but fears for she safety: Her impairment makes she a target, she doesn’t feel staff room looking out for her and the atmosphere of every the shelters she’s tried has been as well chaotic, especially when she isn’t emotion her best,” follow to the report.

A human being sleeps top top a subway in Jamaica, Queens, Oct. 2, 2019. Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY Marte, in his 70s, is a former building porter who shed his task years ago and was never able come get back on his feet. He rides the subway constantly and has “learned come strategically hide his thing under his subway seat and also avoid stating what couple of things he has actually with anyone.”

He tho carries his pass from the joined Nations, where he was employed decades ago, and also hasn’t been ago to his homeland, Indonesia, in 45 years. He assumes his parents are dead.

Then there’s Jeff, 60, that spends his days sitting on one upturned paint bucket in a corner of the port Authority Bus Terminal. He claimed he to know vendors and also commuters by name, and also many avoid to chat and give the food. He has a poor case the edema that he struggles to treat, making it complicated for him come walk.

“He defined that that tries no to connect with systems, consisting of police, outreach officers, house or various other social service agencies in the city — believing that assist can be available in a more respectful and also professional way than he has experienced,” the report states.

Fear that Police

The Coalition also found that 84% of those surveyed had actually been approached at the very least once — and sometimes repetitively — through outreach employees hired by the city and shelter providers.

The Coalition’s surveyors listed several troubles with the outreach technique — starting with groups of NYPD officers accompanying some workers in their rounds. The visibility of cops, the report stated, can “dissuade those continuing to be outdoors from engaging through these workers or sharing personal information.”

They also provided a phenomenon THE CITY has actually documented: Homeless individuals are provided confusing and at times inconsistent information around the protocol because that attaining official “street homeless status” that Anthony Lewis defined to qualify for for sure Haven apartments.

A woman holds a card she claims was provided to her by a homeless services company to note she has actually continuously been at the same corner near Penn station so she can qualify for housing. (June 27, 2019) Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY The report proclaimed that shelter security problems are compounded through inadequate and also poorly trained staff, in addition to a convoluted administration that sends citizens from shelter to shelter, and makes the path to housing confusing and also arduous.

The report contends the there are, because that example, not sufficient Safe Haven beds. As of February there were 20 for sure Havens through 1,232 beds, a major improvement over previous years. 4 years earlier there were simply 675 beds.

But according to the expect count, a census of people sleeping on the street, 3,857 people were encountered ~ above a frigid night in January 2020. Some 58,000 people right now sleep in homeless shelters.

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“Nearly every night the the year, all of the safe Haven framework in the city room filled come capacity,” the report states, note that only 2.6% the those surveyed stated they’d been offered a for sure Haven bed.