WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York
You should know that there are many people who are making a lot of money out of the suffering of the poor and the homeless.
It is important for you to know that as the homeless population in the City of New York nears 60,000 and everyone talks about ways we can help the homeless – and even though the City and State spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars on homeless families, the money doesn’t really go to the homeless. It goes to people who are taking advantage of the situation, who will go broke themselves if the homeless problem gets solved once and for all.
Some individuals who are exploiting the homeless situation are landlords, who raise the rents higher and higher until they push their tenants out onto the streets. This way, their empty apartments can be converted to “cluster sites” or shelter units.
Whereas in the past, a landlord may have been charging $1,000 per month for an apartment for a lease-holding tenant, under these new circumstances, that same landlord can get $109 per night, in some cases up to $3,400 per month to use these same apartments as municipal shelters.
Those landlords have many friends in high places, and they are protected by powerful people.
You should also know that throughout the City of New York, they are building more and more self-storage facilities than housing units. There are places where every two blocks you will find a self-storage facility being built. These storage facilities are a growth industry that feed off the homeless situation.
The owners of these storage facilities don’t have to employ too many people, pay workers insurance, health insurance and unemployment benefits, because the homeless people who use the facility have to do all of the manual labor themselves to store their furniture and belongings.
As you can see, my dear friend, the self-storage facilities not only feed off of the homeless but also use them to do work for them.
While families are being displaced from their apartments and are being thrown into the streets, the City of New York will place them in cluster site shelters and at the same time, the City will pay the storage costs for the families’ furniture and belongings.