This is how New York City thanks them for their service.
Cramped cubicles, a leaky ceiling, and a community bathroom. That’s not what homeless veterans — who were promised sanitary, private accommodations to keep COVID at bay — were expecting when they moved into their new city shelter on Wednesday.
“It’s more or less like a prison,” veteran Raheem Allah, 69, told the Daily News. “Really, we’ve been shafted.”
On Tuesday, the city began moving Allah and other homeless vets out of hotels — where they were placed at the beginning of the pandemic — and into the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence, a men’s shelter in Long Island City, Queens, tucked behind a cooking oil warehouse and the Pulaski Bridge.
Allah, who was transferred out of a Howard Johnson’s hotel in Dutch Kills, Queens was among those promised a private room at the new shelter. With multiple heart problems and severe asthma, he’s at a high risk of hospitalization and death if he contracts COVID-19.
But the army vet told The News that his room looks like a public bathroom stall, with partitions that don’t touch the ceilings and allow for free airflow between sleeping areas. A tarp keeps water from dripping onto his head and electrical outlets in the cubicles don’t work, Allah said. He’s been charging his phone at a nearby subway station.