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Homeless & Housing Meeting Recap For August 4, 2020

(MSCC) John Mudd, Sharon Jasprizza, Posted: August 18, 2020

SUBJECT: Homeless and Housing Committee Meeting recap for Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 9:30am

CHAIR PERSON(S): Sharon Jasprizza, MSCC

WELCOME/INTRODUCTIONS

Sharon Jasprizza, Midtown South Community Council, opened the meeting with housekeeping notes regarding the use of the chat box for sharing ideas and contacts. Sharon explained the need to triage important topics and to send info at least 24 hours before the meeting. Daniel Pinchinson monitored the chat and raised its contents where necessary.

PURPOSE

To develop partnerships and resources to identify problems and find solutions for our homeless and housing crisis

NYC Council Introduction

Chief of Staff to Council Member Corey Johnson, Erik Bottcher:

  • Welcomed everyone, thanked John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza for bringing people together over a number of years, noting that our forum is more important than ever to understand the forces that are bigger than us
  • Noted it’s going to take all of us to undo the decades of poor policy across the city and in NYS
  • Spoke about the humanitarian crisis unfolding on our streets: noting that the crisis has always been there but was formerly disguised by the busy city
  • Spoke about the increases in drug overdoses and opioid uptake during the pandemic
  • Noted there are good programs of hotel use as shelters, but there are management inconsistencies and many are working, including the NYC council, to work with stakeholders to include public safety and quality of life concerns are taken into account during this transition
  • NYC Council has set up weekly meetings to come up with strategies to do a better job with all our resources and talent we have to address the crisis on our streets. This is not something we can police or arrest our way through

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

The prior 8:30 Homeless and Housing Policy meeting discussed the Model Budget and the conversion of commercial property to housing and set for the Homeless and Housing Committee Meeting on Tuesday at 9.30am September 1, 2020 (see Addendum A)

SPEAKER(S): 

 Natalie Naculich, HCC, WSNA, housing and homeless advocacy updates and #Cancel Rent Progress

  • In order to recover from the COVID-19 housing and income crisis, New York State must pass a sensible, 3-bill package that will stabilize rental housing, provide a pathway to economic recovery, and urgently rehouse homeless New Yorkers. These bills have been introduced and now is the time to demand that they be passed! Our three bills are: 
    • Cancel Rent (Salazar/Niou) (S8802/A10826)
    • Eviction Moratorium (Myrie/Reyes)  (S8667/A10827) 
    • Housing Access Voucher Program (Kavanagh/Cymbrowitz) (S7628A/A9657)
    • Click here to read more about the bills.
  • Click here to call your elected officials to support the 3 bills
  • Petition to support your neighbors facing eviction:  
  • Link to contact Department of Health: https://p2a.co/b6wPErL

Kenneth Davis, Historian, Writer: More Deadly Than War, spoke about the History of the Spanish flu to give us insights of what we’re facing today.

  • Author of Don’t know much about History
  • 1918 Spanish Flu is the most deadly pandemic since the Black Death with 50-100 million deaths worldwide, 675,000 deaths across the USA. NYC was the epicenter in the USA
  • New York even though it was an epicenter, it fared better than other parts of the US because its health system was at a higher level than most as it had just come out of the typhoid crisis
  • The Spanish flu began in a Kansas army camps during the Great War (WWI) in the USA. It’s spread throughout the world was carried by troops on the move and on ships, and was thus the first example of globalization. It was known as the Spanish Flu because a news report from Spain (a neutral country at the time) reported the first major European epidemic in Madrid
  • The 1918 flu unlike the current corona virus: 20 – 40year old people affected, horrific scenes of people turning blue, bleeding from the eyes and nose, falling on the ground, no virus had been seen before under a microscope, little medicine except for aspirin, (conspiracy theories about Bayer, its German manufacturer, also led to the spread of the epidemic), half the country lived on farms
  • The 1918 flu was similar to our current crisis: , no cure, no vaccine, masks were recommended, in San Francisco masks were mandated. Lies, fear, propaganda, suppression of info, ignoring science and history were also part of the 1918 history. Newspapers were suppressed because they didn’t want to create panic, governments wanted to suppress the news so people would go to work for the war effort. Science warned against gatherings and putting people on ships but were ignored 
    • In 1918 Philadelphia held a parade of 200,000 people to sell war bonds, two days later every Philadelphia hospital was full. Children were encouraged to attend schools for two reasons: influenza did not seem to affect children, and nurses and other services, were available at schools (even though mothers, at the time, were mostly home makers)
  • Notion of government programs did not exist, as the public response was muted by war.  President Wilson and the government were more concerned about beating Germany.  No federal health system. There were federal health service officers who served on Ellis Island to examine immigrants, and then later used to serve soldiers entering the Great War.
  • There were four waves of the 1918. The second wave was the deadliest. The fourth, being mild and found in isolated areas.

Question and Answers:

  • In 1918, Doctors desperate for a vaccine experimented on prisoners who volunteered who were incarcerated in a Navy jail. Such experiments would not permitted today with a different set of medical ethics established under the Nuremberg Code of Ethics (Set of research ethics principles for human experimentation created as a result of the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War). It’s not known if the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is abiding by the Nuremberg code. 

WELLNESS CHECKS

Erik Botcher/ NYC Council’s Seniors Wellness Checks

  • NYC Council to expand the Wellness Program has delivered tens of thousand pantry boxes to our elderly folk in Chelsea and midtown.
  • The infrastructure set up to do the wellness checks is effective and may be required at other times. Looking at ways to use the infrastructure for other purposes such as extending to people in shelters ( proving difficult because of privacy issues and the need for social work training) 

ANYTHING COVID-19 

  • COVID Hotel Program and Shelter policies (See Addendum C: Hotel Program)
  • The ‘Model Budget,’ a budget which outlines staffing levels to accommodate the services needed in shelters (no updates at present) has still not been fully researched. This is an ongoing action. 
  • Reference to More hotels are being converted to shelters throughout the city: The Hotel Lucerne at 201 W. 79th St. The Belleclaire Hotel on W 77th Street
  • Erik Botcher noted that during the current crisis it is difficult to move people back to congregate settings in former shelters, but the possibility of moving people back to these settings is being discussed. 

ALTERNATIVES FOR HOUSING

  • The over saturation of hotels and emptying of malls may offer an opportunity to rebuild communities
  • The H and H meeting on Sept 1 will focus on the topic of converting commercial office space to supportive and stable housing to include services, community spaces and programs. People are asked to email people of interest to attend this special meeting, email ideas for this meeting to john.mudd@usa.net. (Alderwood Mall outside of Seattle into housing, a 300 apartment complex with underground parking, with 90,000 square feet of retail. Adaptive reuse of Alderwood Mall which  is in progress suggests such transformation could bring malls to the ‘Village Square” concept initially envisioned. Link to article here)
    • People invited so far include: Hudson Companies Inc. Sarah Pizer; Local Initiative Support Corp, LISC, Grace Chung
    • Jocelyn Taylor, Brooklyn resident, is interested in finding solutions and has many ideas about alternatives for housing (Sharon volunteered Jocelyn to be on the planning committee)

MOBILE SHOWERS

Julia Chambers, Shower Power is continuing Harlem’s Mobile Showers Program. 

  • Space is needed for another midtown location, need at least 3,000 square feet. If you know of a space location in proximity to Midtown, please contact us john.mudd@usa.net, 917-520-3009

MEDICAL RESPITE BEDS

Medical Respite Bed Advocacy Plan  Updates (see Addendum B: Medical Respite Bed Advocacy Plan).

No updates yet.

PUBLIC CONCERNS: POLICE AND COMMUNITY

  • 9th Avenue, between 35th and 40th Street 
  • Liberty bar on 35th Street, between and 6th and 5th Avenue (Landlord Tenant problem has developed)
  • Chelsea Block Association: Homeless Encampment-35th Street and Dyer Avenue (see email Addendum D)

ANNOUNCEMENTS / CALLS TO ACTION

  • Please let us know if you can help, or know someone who can, Josiah Haken, from New York City Relief, who is looking for a storefront office space in midtown, to provide case management and care coordination. Able to pay round 4-5k per month, or $48-60k per year up front with the right deal (in the next two months). Small space for at least 2 offices with windows, to see clients in person and have them meet virtually with doctors or psychiatrists as well as receive assistance with 2010E packages and HRA benefits. It would not be a space where lots of people are served at once
  • Relish Caterers: Lenise Dazzel-Harris, Catering & Event Specialist Updates. Lenise spoke about the value of the P’EBT (Pandemic Electronic Transfer, renamed because of COVID) 420.00, which equivalent to a school mean between March and the end of school term. People who don’t need it can donate it to a family in need
    • River Park towers will be the location for the census and pantry bag distribution
  • Please support our  Go Fund me campaigns: Laundry for Kids and Street Sheets, Feed 300 Bronx families for 3 days and 3 nights. Laundry For Kids: raised $4,546.00, served 315 kids, funding goal raised to 8,000
  • Street Sheets (Volunteers to vet contacts)

ACTION LIST

See accumulative actions(see Homeless and Housing Recap 5.5.2020, Addendum A: Accumulative Action)

  • What to add from today’s meeting

AOB

  • Next Meeting: 9:30 am, Tuesday, September 1, 2020 (The first Tuesday of every month)

ADDENDUM A:  POLICY MEETING RECAP

(Sub-committee of Homeless & Housing Committee) 

Name: Home and Housing Policy Committee Recap

Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 

Time: 8:30 am-9:30am

Location: ZOOM.US

CHAIR PERSON(S): Sharon Jasprizza

COMMITTEE’S PURPOSE

Review policies and their oversight, determine actions, suggest and lobby for change!

SHELTER, OUTREACH, AND CLIENT CARE POLICIES

  • DHS moved people to hotel shelters for social distancing 
  • Model Budget should be available to interested parties to lobby for change if needed, and to people managing shelters so they can make recommendations regarding staffing levels (Still researching)
  • Providers’ develop guidelines for the implementation of the Model Budget for hotel shelters. We still need to reach out to hotel managers
  • John Mudd says there is a need for 3 perspectives to be considered when outlining guidelines: Client, Staff and community. Community should be involved so that they are part of the planning and the solutions to avoid the recent clashes/conflicts in midtown. 
  • The Model Budget should account for the needs of the client, staff and community
  • Daniel Pinchinson says there will be many effective models we could research eg Black Vets of America, Bronxworks, SUS etc

HOTELS TO HOUSING

  • Discussion and planning for the Sept 1 meeting for funding, space, development, operations, support for Medical Respite, supportive and affordable housing
    • Invited so far for the September’s meeting hosting Hudson Companies Inc. Sarah Pizer; Local Initiative Support Corp, LISC, Grace Chung; and others (such as the Seattle’s Mall to housing developer). Other suggestions included: 

FOOD PROGRAMS

  • Issue is to get food to shelters, working with Relish caterers: P-EBT, food truck and access to shelters

CHANGES FOR INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

  • Triaging is now on all agendas and meeting emails
  • Shannon Luchs suggested a scribe to track our actions (Lenise Dazzel-Harris, from Relish offered her services)
  • Use of chat bar for contacts and suggestions, but not for triaging, unless its topics for a later meeting
  • Dan Pinchinson says prioritizing topics is an efficient way. This could be done alongside the tracking of actions (This will be resolved as Lenise tracks the actions)
  • John Mudd suggests merging some of our actions with Erik Bottcher’s meetings
  • John Mudd suggests someone to monitor the chat bar. Dan Pinchinson volunteered to do this for the 9.30am meeting. We need to add this into the housekeeping at the 9.30am meeting to nominate someone to do this 

ADVOCATING FOR MEDICAL RESPITE BEDS

Nothing to report.

ACTION / PLANNING LIST

  • Daniel Pinchinson says there will be many effective models we could research eg Black Vets of America, Bronxworks, SUS etc
  • Shannon Luchs suggested a scribe to track our actions (Lenise Dazzel-Harris, from Relish offered her services)
  • Issue is to get food to shelters, working with Relish caterers: P-EBT, food truck and access to shelters
  • SOI: Organize speaker to discuss department’s policy and actions
  • Request a speaker from the Human Rights Council
  • Medical Respite/ DHS’s General Welfare Committee held a hearing in September 2019 on medical respites; Erin Drinkwater suggests that we look at the testimony and transcripts of that hearing
    • Need summary or transcript of the hearing for study
  • Plan for meeting agenda to include Brookfield properties (Alderwood Mall) , Property developer in Seattle 866-207-3713; Hudson Companies Inc. Sarah Pizer; Local Initiative Support Corp, LISC, Grace Chung
  • Contact list of shelter non-profit management
  • Thuy Pham to follow up with Chelsea Block association
  • John Mudd to ask Maria Ortiz, CB4, to the Policy meetings
  • Figure how to provide time and focus to triage specific issues more thoroughly
  • John Mudd will make contact will DOB to intervene in Department building issues
  • Adding the ask for items of particular to the recap for triaging
  • Follow up Chelsea Ryan Clinics Gown needs
  • Thuy’s follow up question is unanswered: I learned through my network that there is a nurse who says that some homeless people have been placed in nursing homes.  Can this please be confirmed with the homeless coalitions, whether this is true?  The source is in Brooklyn, but not sure if it is happening in Manhattan, too
  • John to talks about an SOI speaker

AOB

  • Next Policy Meeting: September 1, 2020, 8:30 to 9:30am, prior to the Homeless and Housing Committee Meeting

ADDENDUM B: MEDICAL RESPITE ADVOCACY PLAN FOR NYC

There is no question that we need medical respite beds in New York City. Many of our service providers will attest to this. People suffering homelessness are deprived of complete recovery alternatives after leaving an emergency room. People are mostly cared for by family or visiting nurses after returning home to ensure successful recovery. People who are homeless do hot have access to aftercare, and hospitals are reluctant to house people beyond their needed emergency care. As one Mount Sinai doctor said, “We’re not a Holiday Inn.” 

A medical respite bed facility can be a pipeline from the hospitals to health, medical, social, and other services, which can lead to housing opportunities. 

This four-step plan is to encourage the development of medical respite beds in NYC. This is a plan in progress, not without flexibility, and is open for suggestions.

Step #1 (Began November 2019) Mission:

Describes our mission (the encouragement of medical respite beds) and suggests the following pathways to complete that mission:

  • Encourage medical respite bed funding through the city budget
  • Ask the city to fund a pilot project to study the financial and clinical outcomes
  • Encourage the network of providers to develop medical respite beds

A press release describing the committees’ intentions, emphasizing the forthcoming presentations, and encouraging attendance could be prudent.

Step #2 (March 2020) Information Gathering:

This step requires a tremendous amount of information gathering affirming the necessity, sustainability, and capital to develop a respite bed facility. Fortunately there are successful examples and developers who are willing to guide this endeavor. The Information Gathering should include, but not be limited to:  

  • Statistics outlining success in other states
  • Costs difference between emergency care and respite bed facilities
  • Developmental and operational cost analysis
    • Daniel Muwamba, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program is already working on financial details of the Barbara McInnes House and Stacey KirkPatrick facilities
  • Short documentaries and testimonials speaking to medical respite needs
  • Video and PowerPoint presentations affirming the medical respite beds necessity and benefits:
    • Andy Coyle, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Education, Associate Program Director for Ambulatory Care, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has shared a great deal of knowledge during a conference call and with his PowerPoint presentation, using data from March 2019, and he is willing to further support our endeavors: 
      • I can pull updated data if there is an opportunity to speak to a group…I can also share more of our outcomes data for the respite as we have it
    • Comunilife’s Rosa Gil, DSW, President and CEO, has contracts with Monte, Bronx Lab and a couple Medicaid Managed Care plans for medical respite bed care
    • David Munson, Barbara McInnes House, has shared details of his operation and as with Dr. Coyle, is willing to support our endeavors
    • BronxWorks, is partnering with One City Respite Program, to lower the cost of emergency room use, to provide longer care for persons without a residence, and to enable a pathway to better health and housing stability (an interim step towards medical respite beds?)
    • Insurance Companies: Health First, United Healthcare, MetroPlus, AMIDACARE
    • DHS, Outreach services, and NYDIS: How can medical respite beds benefit?

The video presentations should educate, speak to the need, and empower others to advocate for medical respite facilities. 

Step #3 (July, August 2020) Administrative, Proposal Development, and Marketing: 

This step collates the work from Steps 1 & 2, fills in the gaps, and tailors it to the needs of client and state for a finalized proposal to encourage the development of medical respite beds. This step serves the final presentation and marketing needs, and also encourages support and participation. 

Step #4 (September, October 2020) Advocating for Development:

This is the culmination of discussions, meetings, research, discoveries, proposals and presentations to gather the support from nonprofits, city agencies, governing bodies, medical institutions, and humanitarian developers to realize the building of medical respite beds.

ADDENDUM C:  COVID-19 HOTEL PROGRAM

See below for notes on the webinar today. In short, registration is no longer required for use of Covid-19 Hotel program – just call 844-692-4692 (844-NYC-4NYC) and make the referral for isolation or quarantine, selecting the borough for services (1 for Manhattan). The patient should be called back within an hour. Expectation is that referring provider will continue to provide follow up services to the patient during their stay, as needed. See below for details.

COVID Hotel Isolation/Quarantine Beds

  • Test – Trace – Take Care
    • Carlos Devia, Senior Clinical Quality Manager for DOHMH
      • Overview of Test and Trace Corps
        • This program will run hotel program
          • June 1st – 20000 tests per day across 100 locations
          • June 1st – 1000 tracers screen Hotel, food, Meds, informs on mental health and family violence
          • June 1st – 1200 hotel rooms – Nicole Jordan Martin in charge 
          • Inability to self-isolate includes: cannot maintain 6 feet distance, do not have separate bathroom or cannot clean and disinfect after each use, shared kitchen that cannot clean touches surfaces after each use
          • Hampton Inn Times Square 851 8th Ave
          • Aloft Hotel 100-15 Ditmars Boulevard
          • LaGuardia Plaza – not fast enough for the address
  • COVID-19 Hotel Program by H&HC
    • Referral process: Call 844-692-4692 (844-NYC-4NYC)
    • NO REGISTRATION NECESSARY
    • No paper work or online forms
    • Contact center will call directly and screen patient and decide
    • H+HC will transport patient to room if needed
    • 3 meals/day
    • Children can be with parents
    • Wellness checks provided
    • Provides pajamas, wi-fi, TV
    • 24 hour nursing for emergencies (and ADLs?!)
    • Pharmacy services for regular meds, delivered to room
  • Guests should bring:
    • Photo ID
    • 14-day supply of medications
    • No alcohol or recreational drugs 
    • Items of necessity: clothes, shoes, toiletries, dentures, prostheses, personal electronic devices, small amount of cash or debit/credit card
    • Recent discharge paperwork/medication list
  • Maintaining continuity of care:
    • PCP is expected to continue providing whatever care – follow up calls, or televisits or in-person visits
    • If patient has home care, coordinate with them to transfer to hotel
    • Patient’s PCP expected to coordinate in-home supportive services
    • PCP or referring clinician welcome to do a visit at hotel, please provide your own PPE
    • Guests receive guidance to call 911 if they have medical emergency
  • LOS
    • Isolating: after 10 days of onset of symptoms and absence of symptoms for 3 days and overall improvement in symptoms
    • Quarantine: 14 days or if home situation changes so that they can isolate at home
    • Any issues with referrals: Assistant VP Dr. Aaron Miller: aaron.miller@nychhc.org
    • Hotels are free
    • Patients will be contacted within an hour of referral
    • What if patient doesn’t have a phone? TBD – maybe Ryan considers keeping patient on site and gives a direct call back to the center

I made two attempts to call into this line – it’s a general line for H&HC Covid services. I was able to get through to the right place for the Covid Hotel Program within 5 minutes on my second attempt. They stated ancillary staff should be able to make these calls, but providers should be able to make the referral within a visit as well.

Sara Sansone, MS, MPH, RN (she, her)

Chronic Care Manager | Population Health

P: 212.484.5860 M: 646-927-9609

F: 212.265.6565

Ryan-Chelsea Clinton Community Health Center

ADDENDUM D:  HELLS KITCHEN BLOCK ASSOCIATION EMAIL

HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT – 35th & DYER AVE

Hello all,

I hope this finds you well.

Thank you for placing the potted plants on NW corner of W35th and Dyer. Unfortunately the encampment has taken up residence on Dyer Ave between W34th and W35th streets and grows in size number daily. There are currently 6 encampments on both the east and west sides of Dyer Ave next to residential buildings.

The homeless are openly selling and using drugs (shooting up), are aggressive towards local residents (spitting, yelling, blocking traffic demanding handouts), are throwing their trash onto the properties of the Webster Hotel and 433 W34 Street, do not wear masks, are not social distancing, and are blocking the sidewalks with tents, furniture, mattresses, bicycles, and suitcases. Some have tried entering residential buildings and are harassing building employees.

I make 311 requests daily, as do other residents, and every day I receive a text saying N/A or case closed. No one from DHS has visited the site. I sit at my computer at my window all day and see the encampments. They have not been visited from any city agency. They have been visited by drug dealers and drug buyers.

The situation is degrading daily. Additionally, there are new graffiti tags on buildings, walls, fences and sidewalks  every day. This is being done at night.

 We are committed to the just and humane treatment for the homeless population in our community, as well as the health, well being, and safety of our residents and employees. We are asking for immediate action from our elected officials, city agencies, and NYPD.  

The community is requesting the east and west sidewalks on Dyer Ave between W34 St and W35 St be temporarily fenced off in some way to prevent encampments near residential buildings. We are asking the city to provide an area for the homeless to have their encampments if they choose not to go to shelters, away from residential buildings. Disperse the homeless only to have them congregate in the same place in less than 12 hours is not an effective plan. Provide them with a property with sanitation.  

We are requesting the NYPD to commit to a program similar to the one being implemented in W40s in Hell’s Kitchen, the 8for8 initiative. Every day I get alerts for the Citizen app of a stabbing, robbery, or assaults near W36, W37, W38 Sts near 8th Ave. I believe this is a drug problem, not a homeless problem. Penn Station is a drug hub that keeps the homeless in our area. We need the state and DEA to get involved. Reducing the amount of heroin and opioids coming through Penn Station and Port Authority will also reduce the homeless who are here to be close to that source.

I am again requesting a meeting with all of you to create an effective plan of inter-agency/NYPD/state action. The current plans do not work and need to be changed.

Attached are photos of Dyer Ave encampments and graffiti on W34th and W35th Streets.

Thank you.

Julia Campanelli