MANHATTAN – Hundreds took to the streets of the Upper East Side Saturday afternoon to demand changes to the City’s homeless shelter system, protesting in front of Gracie Mansion to call for housing for New Yorkers in need– not what demonstrators describe as crowded, potentially dangerous shelters and congregate settings.
“Housing is a human right! Fight, fight, fight!”
The march to Mayor de Blasio’s residence began outside Carl Schurz Park south of East 86th Street just after 3pm this afternoon.Contact [email protected] for use
Marching down to 85th street, the group entered the park and snaked through the greenspace until reaching the East River Esplanade, where the crowd’s chants could be heard from way down at the other end.
“Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho! This shelter system’s got to go!,” the crowd chanted as they pushed closer to the Mayor’s mansion, some park-goers stopping in their tracks to watch the protest in action.
Finally, the group gathered in front of Gracie Mansion– demonstrators brought with them a criminal complaint against Mayor de Blasio and laid out their long list of charges against him.
“Let me put on my lawyer voice because I’m standing next to Maya [Wiley],” Newsome joked before reading the charges against the Mayor.
“Whereas Mayor de Blasio has displayed callous indifference and wanton disregard towards the needs of homeless New Yorkers, allowing the shelter population to only grow during his eight years in office and failing to provide permanent housing as folks languish in shelters,” Newsome announced to the protestors.
“That ain’t right!” one woman shouted from the crowd.
Demonstration organizers including Newsome and Shams Da Homeless Hero– formerly a resident of the Lucerne, a hotel used to house homeless New Yorkers during the Covid-19 pandemic– signed the criminal summary to make their complaint official.
“It don’t matter who up in that mansion, at the end of the day it’s about people power” Shams said standing in front of metal barriers keeping the crowd from getting close to the Mayor’s residence, a handful of NYPD officers on the other side watching on, “and we want to send a message to the current mayor, and whoever going to be there next year.”