Test for COVID-19 In NYC Shelters Now!

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The COVID-19 virus is spreading throughout the New York City shelter system. There are currently seven known cases but because there is no testing, many many more are likely infected.  And the New York City shelter system is NOT set up for social distancing. 

"I live in a shelter in NY state. Social distancing is laughable here - I sleep within touching distance of three other people, and share a bathroom with 10. Handwashing is being encouraged, but getting the virus feels inevitable." - Anonymous tweet from 3/19/20

The situation is especially dire on Wards Island where there are anywhere from 800 to 1000 homeless clients.  The bathrooms are filthy, garbage cans are overflowing and clients are coughing.  The four shelters on Wards Island are run by a nonprofit set up by Governor Cuomo in 1986 and chaired by his sister, Maria Cuomo Cole. There has been flooding, black mold and heating and cooling problems at these shelters.

The homeless community living in these shelters is calling on Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to conduct mandatory COVID-19 testing of all homeless clients in MICA (Mentally Impaired Chemically Addicted) New York City shelters.  In addition, John Pupons, Emergency Coordinator for the Office of General Services of New York State MUST issue a Declaration of Emergency to quickly construct temporary quarantine facilities and address sanitizing and repairing the four shelters run by HELP USA on Wards Island. Tom Hameline, PhD, President and CEO of HELP USA also needs to be held responsible for the mismanagement of this crisis.

CONTACT Bill DeBlasio - NYC Mayor                                                                            Tweet: @nycmayor Call: 212-788-2162

CONTACT Joslyn Carter - Joslyn Carter
Administrator, Department of Homeless Services NYC                                      Tweet: @NYCDHS  Call: 212-361-8000