April 15, 2022 • Schneps Media
Streets of despair
Chinatown crackdown the latest in NYC’s
efforts to eliminate homeless encampments
BY DEAN MOSES
The sweeps continue.
Mayor Eric Adams’ mandated
removal of homeless
encampments continued Monday
as Chinatown’s unhoused scrambled
to salvage their belongings before
it was tossed into the trash pile.
Undomiciled residents of 38
Eldridge St. were left in despair
on April 11 while they desperately
attempted to choose what
to carry with them and what
to leave behind.
One female member of the encampment
rested her head on a
metal bar in a solemn act of defeat.
For many, life on the streets has
now become a revolving door of
removals and displacements.
“Sanitation put up letters talking
about how they are coming. This
is not the first time,” Neil, a homeless
member of the encampment,
said. “They keep telling me they are
going to help me.”
According to Neil, the last time
he faced one of these sweeps he lost
many of his belongings.
“They threw out everything
I had. I am talking about brand
new sneakers, socks, pants, jeans,
shirts, jackets, hats, gloves–
everything,” Neil said.
As he tossed clothing into a
ripped plastic bag, the Department
of Homeless Services arrived
with an escort of police officers,
however, Neil refused to speak
with members of the homeless outreach
stating that he will not return
to a shelter.
“I was in a single shelter, and I
had people coming in and out of my
room. I went downstairs and asked
them to lock my room and they said
they can’t lock my room. I couldn’t
lay down, I couldn’t do it anymore,”
Despite the hardships, those who
live on the streets are not alone.
Several allies have emerged who
attend the sweeps to watch over
their neighbors to document their
safety and to ensure no important
belongings are thrown out.
“It’s really, really hard to watch
people that you’ve built relationships
with to suddenly not be there,”
Judith Haider said, a local supporter
who helps her unhoused neighbors
collect their belongings.
A ripple effect of defiance by
those in a Tompkins Square Park
encampment who refused to leave
their tents, ultimately getting arrested,
inspired several members of
the homeless community to say they
will defy the sweeps.
Talia Jane, an independent reporter
who was also at the sweep
in Chinatown, said that a homeless
individual pointed to the cover of a
recent amNewYork Metro newspaper
and stated he wanted to fight
like those the paper featured in the
While Neil took what he could,
the Department of Sanitation began
tossing objects into the rear of
a garbage truck under the watchful
eyes of the NYPD. According to advocates,
this leaves the homeless to
A woman leans over in despair as the impending sweep looms on
stay constantly on the move–never
able to stay in one place for fear of
having their belongings confiscated
“I caught up to one of my neighbors
PHOTO BY DEAN MOSES
who I hadn’t seen in three
weeks. I was really worried about
him, and he said he’s moving daily.
Like, he is literally moving every
day,” Haider said.
Homeless rights advocates in Manhattan release roadmap to aid
BY DEAN MOSES
Despite the subway shooting
chaos in Brooklyn, homeless
rights advocates pressed on
Tuesday in Manhattan with their
campaign to convince Mayor Eric
Adams to halt his homeless encampment
Standing inside the Fulton Street
Subway Station on April 12, the
same location where the mayor
originally announced a subway
safety plan that included removing
homeless persons from the subway
system, VOCAL-NY — a grassroots
community organization —
laid out steps they believe the mayor
could take to “reverse harm and
Believing the encampment removals
to be cruel, racist, and
unjust, VOCAL-NY put forth
what they called a roadmap the
mayor could follow in order to pull
back on what many feel is a war
on the homeless.
Some of the suggestions included
using available vacant hosting
stock, NYCHA units, and vouchers
to rehouse those sleeping on the
streets while also providing access
to public bathrooms in subways
and other accessible locations. The
group also called for an immediate
end to encampment sweeps.
“There is so much work the Adams
administration can do to end
homelessness – none of it being
encampment sweeps or ousting
people from the subways,” said
Celina Trowell, VOCAL-NY’s
Homelessness Union Organizer.
“We can’t emphasize enough the
harm that Adams’ tactics are
causing, without providing any
improvement on quality-of-life issues
homeless New Yorkers are
facing. This roadmap, driven by
directly-impacted New Yorkers,
has tangible steps that will actually
move people off the streets
and shelters, and into housing.
We urge the mayor to take heed
of this plan.”
After the roadmap layout was
released, VoCAL-NY members
marched off an escalator chanting
“Fight, fight, housing is a human
right” and entered an Uptown
Manhattan-bound C train.
While onboard the train, advocates
held banners that read,
“End homelessness,” as they informed
commuters regarding the
plight homeless individuals are
PHOTO COURTESY OF VOCAL-NY TWITTER.
Vocal-NY members flock to Fulton Street Station to share their roadmap to aid homeless individuals.