Located at 79-00 Queens Blvd., the building is now home to nearly 200 families, some of whom attended the rally, which drew a much smaller crowd than the prior events. They shared several concerns.
One resident, Christine Napolitano, said, “I’m grateful that I have a roof over my head,” but she complained that the four members of her family, including her three children, aged 16, 11 and 5, have to live in a single room.
“We’re on top of each other on a constant basis,” she said. “My kids want to kill each other. We’re not animals. We’re people who really need help. Things have to change.”
The city pays nearly $4000 a month to house Napolitano’s family, she said. And the space doesn’t even include cooking facilities.
“There is no place to eat here. It’s not allowed,” she said. “The food you wouldn’t give to your dog.”
And, once the new school year begins, she said it will be difficult for her children to continue attending the same specialized schools in the Bronx to which they are accustomed.
“They’re comfortable in those schools,” she said. She would like to be able to return with her family to the Bronx, but said, “Any changes have to be approved by the higher-ups.”
Another resident, Sheila Carroll, who has two preteen children, was similarly grateful but also expressed concerns. “I thank God for the shelter,” she said. “But I’m trying to transition back to life. Every day I’m pounding the pavement looking for affordable housing. We should have affordable housing in every section of the city. I’m tired of getting rejected.”
Carmen Rosario, who also lives in the shelter, said, “I’m here to fight. I’ve been fighting since I got here.” As the mother of a newborn and a toddler, she is disturbed over the sleeping accommodations they were provided.
“The toddler has to sleep in an infant crib,” she said. She also said the elder child got sick from the food and has a hard time keeping food down now. “Everything is liquid, liquid, liquid,” she said. “My kids need nutrition. They’re not getting the nutrition they need.”
Why does Danny Dromm support this? Why does Melissa Mark-Viverito support this? Why does Bill DeBlasio support this?