Opinion: Why We Disrupted a Public Hearing About the Homeless

(CITYLIMITS.ORG) and September 22, 2019

The municipal building at 125 Worth Street is a daunting site. The architecture has an intimidating height, the façade is dated and dull, and the first sight for visitors upon entering is a metal detector and security guards. The building is best known to city residents as the site of Vital Statistics, where birth certificates can be retrieved. But the building also hosts hearings on proposed rules by city agencies.

On Wednesday, a group of people were stopped at the front door. They had signs calling on the city to halt its implementation of a rule requiring those who are employed and living in Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters to fork over 30 percent of their income to shelter staff, which would be placed into a city-run savings account and could only be accessed after 30-45 days of exiting shelter. They were eventually let in, but only after many of their signs were confiscated. Democracy.