WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 22, 2022 2RIDGEWOOD TIMES
Activist arrested while protecting homeless encampments in Ridgewood
BY JULIA MORO
A local activist was arrested and faces
charges of disorderly conduct and
obstruction of governmental administration
a er attempting to salvage a homeless
man’s personal items from a shopping cart
being discarded by Department of Sanitation
workers during an NYPD sweep of homeless
encampments at the corner of Myrtle
Avenue and Wycko Avenue in Ridgewood,
according to authorities.
Activist Raquel Namuche told QNS she was
arrested Saturday morning, April 9, while
attempting to protect her homeless neighbors.
Namuche, 38, leads the Ridegwood
Tenants Union (RTU), an organization that
builds tenant power and protects homeless
neighbors in Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale
and Middle Village.
According to police, the Department of
Sanitation (DSNY) and NYPD o cers were
at the location to remove “illegal structures”
from a public sidewalk. NYPD reported
that Namuche refused multiple warnings
to clear the area and physically interfered,
preventing individuals from clearing the
Mayor Eric Adams started the strong
push to clean up homeless encampments
throughout the city in March. Since then,
over 200 sites have been cleaned. As part of
this new policy, the Department of Homeless
Services (DHS) surveys an area and is
supposed to post a notice at least 24 hours
in advance of the cleanup before engaging
with clients on site.
“They weren’t aware this was happening.
The notice was posted only a night before and
a half a block away,” Namuche said. “All they
wanted was our help getting into safe shelters,
and that’s what we were doing. Getting
arrested for trying to protect the property of
a homeless individual was not something we
Namuche was also charged with
“menacing” and “harassment.”
“These homeless sweeps are unnecessary
and what the city actually needs is to provide
housing for homeless individuals,” Namuche
said. “The sweeps are not working and what
we need is safe and stable housing.”
According to RTU, a homeless man at
the sweep, Jo Jo, cried while DSNY took his
“They took all my stu and threw it away,”
Jo Jo said. “Now I don’t have nothing at all
to live on — no clothes, no socks. They took
everything. It’s not fair to us. It’s fucked up.”
Namuche mentioned that instead of transitional
shelters or a Safe Haven bed, RTU
wants to see the empty apartments in the city
used for permanent housing for homeless
individuals. According to Adams, there are
over 2,000 empty apartments in the city.
“If the city is serious in ending homelessness,
the mayor needs to open up every
apartment that is currently sitting empty
and give everybody keys and the services
they need now,” Namuche said.
The city has promised 500 beds to New
Yorkers in need as they attempt to rid city
streets of the encampments.
According to Deputy Mayor Anne Williams
Isom, a er DSNY and NYPD engage
at the encampment, workers are supposed
to connect homeless individuals with resources,
a nearby shelter or a Safe Haven bed.
“We’ll arrange transport and shelter and a
bed for them right away,” Williams-Isom said.
“For every person in these encampments, and
for every person that we encounter, we are
doing this with dignity and respect. For me,
today is not just about cleaning areas. It’s
about connecting people to the supportive
services that can categorically change their
lives and reminding them that there is a place
Namuche, who is still in contact with
the homeless individuals who resided on
the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Wycko
Avenue, said they were all placed in shelters
throughout the city, with some staying in
Safe Haven beds in the Bronx.
Homeless encampments on Wycko and Myrtle Avenues were cleared by the
Department of Sanitation and NYPD o cers Saturday, April 9.
Photo by the Ridgewood Tenants Union
We provide most services that your pet
would receive when going to the vet
for a technician visit.
Insured and bonded!